Photo taken with Instagram
Happy Monday after Thanksgiving! I hope this finds everyone well rested and satiated with the memories of a holiday well spent. I had a wonderful time with the Mister's family. We cooked, we ate, we lounged around in our pajamas. I made this brown butter apple tart
which looks alot like the picture from Bon Appetit. Looks like I did it right, then.
After a short trip to Knoxville to visit family, the Mister and I got to spend some much needed quality time with one another by coming home early and having the weekend to ourselves. We enjoyed shopping on Small Business Saturday. We relaxed with some pedicures and then we stayed in and took turns cooking for one another, he on Friday and me on Saturday night. I have a lovely smoky sweet potato bisque from this weekend to share with you soon.
I also found some time over the weekend to think about upcoming Christmas holiday and to browse for inspiration, a luxury that had escaped me over these last few busy weeks. I was able to find some recipes, think about new traditions and plan out my calendar for this festive month. It's shaping up to be a good one and I can't wait to share it with you.
This week, as I take time to plan for the upcoming month, I've decided to share some of the backlogged posts from our wedding. There are still some DIY projects that I wanted to share as well as a sneak peek of our wedding photos and a few other things that got lost in the midst of bridal mania. This blog is my time capsule, a place for me to share the meaningful bits of my life. I hope that I can always come back and see all the wonderful things that have happened.
Next week, we're back to food. I have the perfect winter breakfast, a spiced pumpkin dessert and a smoky bisque recipe I think you're going to love. Until then, I hope you enjoy a look back at our handmade wedding.
I'm still reeling from an inspiring weekend in Greenville, SC at the CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference
where I spent the weekend blogging on behalf of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
The weekend was an educational goldmine, planting me smack dab in the center of workshops and conversations with like-minded individuals who share a common interest- the desire to "do something" within our food system.
The conference was a diverse sampling of people from all aspects of the food world. There were farmers and growers, policy makers, and market managers, non-profit organizations and students, concerned citizens and activists. Conversations ran the gamut of topics, all of them searching for solutions and ways to help our local, regional and national food systems. The conference left me feeling hopeful for the future. More than that, I felt like I want/need/have to do more.
Hands-on mushroom workshop
CFSA Young Farmer of the Year, Tradd Cotter, leading a workshop
My takeaway was that the crux of working toward a solution lies in the collaboration of many. It requires multiple parts, working in concert, to produce something worthwhile, much like our ecosystem.
For the record, this isn't idealism. The conference showed me so. Let me rephrase that, the people at the conference showed me so. I attended workshops and seminars about the good work that is happening right now. Deb Eschmeyer, co-founder of Food Corps
and a leader in school food reform efforts led an inspiring talk documenting the work being done by an army of young people across 12 states in underserved and undernourished communities.
Farmers and experts shared their knowledge freely. Students wowed attendees with impressive initiatives. Amazing local food fed the hungry masses and good times were had by all. For me, though, the convivial atmosphere came second to the central message of the conference- that there is more work to be done.
Hello? Is anybody there? It's me, Keia, back from wedding wonderland and freshly hitched to the Mister. You can call me Mrs. McGrath now. Squee!
I can't believe that it's been seventeen days since my last post and nearly a week since we said "I do". I have simply lost track of time and reality. The wedding was oh-so-magical in so many ways and my feet are just now returning to the ground. Pardon my absence from the blog. We have much to catch up on.
There is so much I want to tell you about all that has happened these last couple of weeks, but there are no words. My heart swells even as I type this. The Mister and I crafted our little hearts out leading up to the big day and then we were swept into an overwhelming current of joy surrounded by our best friends and family. The impossibly short weekend was incapable of holding all the love that we felt. It was here, full of memories, laughter and heaps of generosity, and then it was gone. I am still trying so hard to remember it all.
I wanted to share a few snaps from the weekend although it hardly captures even half of it.
Beginning from top left, going left to right:
- The farmer's market flowers that graced our wedding tables
- Our backyard rehearsal dinner lit by candlelight
- Wedding lips
- My big brothers (who walked me down the aisle) and me at my rehearsal dinner
- Married hands.
- Delicious pork belly tacos from our rehearsal dinner
- The RootsFarmFood
truck dishing up local food at our rehearsal dinner. We also had paletas from Senor Pops
- Pre-wedding pedicures for my ladies
- My amazing cousin, Sean
, playing an impromptu set during our wedding brunch.
Our handmade wedding was brought to life by the hard work of all of our loved ones who pitched in to make it an occasion that was as beautiful as it was joyful. I am so incredibly thankful.
Next week, the blog will be dedicated to the DIY projects that made the event a labor of love. Also, expect to see a few backlogged posts from our trip to Denver which never made it to the blog before the wedding madness hit.
I am so happy to be back in my little corner of the world. My brain is bursting with ideas and I can't wait to get back into my regular blogging routine and back into the kitchen. Yay!
Hey, look! It's me all fancy like in my orange shirt. Truthfully, I feel a bit strange posting pictures of my mug all over the internet. I feel the same way when I'm tasked to write a bio about myself and I'm forced to speak in third person. Keia feels especially silly when she does that.
Aside from random photos of my feet, I'm not one to take pictures of myself. Lately, though, I've been in need of a headshot. I've been asked by several of the outlets where I contribute to provide a photo to which I usually just send a hacky cropped out image of my head from a photo taken well over a year ago on my 30th birthday. Not fancy. Not fancy at all.
I was, however, lucky enough to meet photographer Lisa Turnage
in an unlikely place. We were on the poultry farm
of a mutual friend, helping them process chickens. Elbow deep in chicken guts, we struck up a conversation. Lisa is a down-to-earth gal with a lovely sense of humor. She also happens to be a great photographer. We returned to our friend's farm and took a few fancy photos of me in my orange (my favorite color, by the way) shirt.
It's so difficult to choose your own photos, but these are some of my favorites. You can head to my About Me
page to see which one I chose that fully captures the essence of me.
To see more of Lisa's work, check out her website Lisa Turnage Photography
and check out the East of Eden
website for some awesome pictures of the poultry farm where we met. She took those too. Thanks, Lisa!
I am knee-deep in summer vegetables and perspiration, just the way I like it. How the heck is your summer going?
I am thoroughly enjoying the dog days and all the wonderful perks of summer: fresh picks from the garden, sunshine all the times, tomatoes (!), sitting poolside, trips to the ice cream shop, late-night movies and early morning walks.
You know what's funny? Reading those last few lines, it actually looks like life is moving at a deliciously lazy pace. A summertime pace, if you will. The reality is that my plate is full to the brim with a myriad of activities, obligations and opportunities including my upcoming wedding and long list of DIY's to complete, new writing gigs and perpetual list of ideas for my own kitchen creations and blog posts.
You know what else? I've never felt so incredibly alive and excited for this massive list of to-do's . In fact, I think that things are starting to come together for lil ol' me over here. My passions and daily pursuits are starting to become one and the same. I've been getting the opportunity to do what I love more often and it has contributed greatly to my current state of authentic, honest-to-goodness happiness. FAIR WARNING: This post took a turn from happy-go-lucky summer Instagram share to introspective pow-wow and deep thoughts a'la Keia. I don't know how it got there, I just type the words and they arrange themselves. You've been warned.
You see, I took a leap of faith over a year ago to start this blog. I didn't know where it would lead or what that would look like. I just made a beginning and then made a commitment to continue no matter what. That decision, to pursue the things that feed me without expectation or reward, to simply continue, has begun to pay off in ways I could not have imagined 18 months ago.
I feel compelled to share this with you because we all share a commonality as human beings. That is, we all experience fears, dreams, hopes and disappointment. My motivation to walk through my own fears was paved with the help of those who have shared similar experiences. Holly Becker
and her incomparable BYW class
come to mind.
Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to wade through the whole gamut of emotions, the kind that only come up when you decide to follow your heart and let go. It's scary and uncomfortable and exhilarating all at the same time. Some days it's a total crap shoot and doubt creeps in like a bastard ninja and I feel more basket case than I do brave. Other days, I breakthrough my own self-imposed barriers and good things happen. On rare occasions, I experience bright shining moments of wonderful and receive the clarity that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Those are especially good days.
More than that, I've found the courage to proceed even when the outcome is uncertain. Even better is that I've been able to sift through these cray-cray feelings of mine without scaring the whole internet world with schizophrenic posts and maniacal musings. I've learned what it means to stay true to myself and, as a result, I've discovered some wonderful passions of mine, like food and photography and writing.
I feel grateful to have reached this point, although I think there is so much more to learn, and I feel inclined to share what small bits of experience these last 18 months have taught me: Walk through your fears, do what you love and stay the course. You will be the better for it in more ways than you could ever imagine.
I don't know how this post got so lengthy. It wasn't my intention to write so much. Oh, well. It was meant to be, I guess.
Your thoughts are always appreciated. Feel free to leave a comment or share an experience.
I feel like I need to be true to myself today. As a homework assignment for a blogging course I'm currently taking, I had to update my About Me
page so that people who come to visit may know me and my blog better. In there, I made a reference to bad puns, which I happen to love, and felt a need to carry on my truest nature by introducing this ongoing photo series with a lovely one I cooked up just for you.
Don't roll your eyes at me. I like puns. They're good for a giggle, even if it's just me laughing.
I began this series to chronicle my visits to the local farmer's market and my weekly hauls. It's one of my Saturday morning rituals, to go solo to market and collect the latest picks for the week. I lazily sip coffee while lingering over root vegetables and fresh herbs, striking up conversations with local farmers and dreaming up recipes for the week.
It's my chance to snag some alone time and is one of the simple pleasures I look forward to each week. I hope to continue this photo series and can't wait to watch the seasons change in my weekly shots.
If you'd like to follow along with me on Instagram, you can find me here
What are you haulin' from the local markets?
Hey friends! I hope this finds you all refreshed on this lovely Monday. I'm back from a weekend that had to be one of the best this year. Honestly, I have a pretty simple and routine life that doesn't involve a lot of hoopla or chaos (excluding wedding planning, of course), so when my calendar fills up with fancy happenings, it's a rare occasion.
The Mister and I spent most of last week preparing for our Summer Yard Sale Extravaganza. That's just hoopla-speak for garage sale. We merchandised and organized into the wee hours on Friday and opened shop for our first visitor at 6:45 a.m. It was a right success in my opinion and we even got see a few friends.
That evening, we had the pleasure of attending the Second Annual Soil to Soul Dinner
, a knock-your-socks off farm-to-fork dinner about an hour out of the city. We dined alfresco, ate food within 50 miles of where we sat and communed with an eclectic mix of storytellers and like-minded individuals. More on that in my next blog post. It warms my heart just thinking about it.
On Sunday, I traded in my appetite for some brain food at the Balanced Bites Workshop
, an all-day nutrition workshop hosted by Liz Wolfe
and Diane Sanfilippo
and had my mind sufficiently blown. For eight hours, I geeked out on nutrition, learning about things like blood-sugar regulation, proper insulin function and the history of the modern diet. Oh, and we talked a little about ancestral wisdom too.
So much fun on so many levels. I met new people, ate phenomenal food, made some money and learned new things. So much better than the normal couchsurfing in my underwear kinda weekend, although there's always room for that.
How was your weekend?
There are these amazing wildflowers growing on the side of the highway where I live and every time I travel the interstate, I want to stop and pick some for myself. I never end up doing it because I'm en route to a destination and think it's slightly impractical to risk getting blindsided by a semi because I wanted to pick some flowers. Plus, I hear it's illegal since the flowers are put there by the county. So, I resign myself to take in their beauty from afar at approximately 75 miles per hour. But...you know who doesn't care about these things??
The Mister! He done gone and got all romantic on me and brought home a whole mess of wildflowers from the side of the road. His chivalrous self pulled his old, broke-down Honda 5-speed to the side of the road and began ripping armfuls of wildflowers from their patchy insterstate home in the name of romance. I know, so sweet and illegal.
I knew he was up to something because I arrived home one afternoon to find stems and petals strewn haphazardly about the carport. The man is romantic, but he does not know the first thing about how to cover his tracks. Or cleanup, for that matter.
That day though, wildflowers trumped a clean carport and I walked in to find almost all of my flower vases full of beautiful, colorful wildflowers. I love that man, I do.
Flowers bring such beauty to my surroundings. If you're on Instagram
, you know there are no shortage of flower photos in my feed. I can't help myself. The beauty of a flower is an amazing sight to behold. Speaking of beholding, I saved all the seed pods from the wildflower bouquets to plant them around my vegetable garden. With any luck, I'll get to enjoy this wonderful surprise once more when they bloom again.
If you'd like to find me on Instagram, you can find me @sunnysidekeia, same as my Twitter account. If you don't have Instagram, you can find me on the web at Followgram
Ohai! Remember these photos from January and February
? Well, the Mister and I fell off our monthly tripod photo wagon and missed the month of March entirely. We'll have to make that one up. The photo above was taken on the last day of April (count it!) and here we are in May, a little off on our timing, but back to share our monthly photo with you.
That's our garden in its early stages and those are our gardening faces. Actually this is the face we make to any insects or pests that try to plunder our garden booty. Fierce, right?
Up front we have strawberry plants and behind me are the potatoes and onions we planted earlier in the month. That green thingamabob in the back right of the photo is our compost bin. The Mister built it out of an old shed that was in our backyard. Then he built a new shed for us which sits right behind the garden.
Our summer garden will have squash, zucchini, eggplant, japanese eggplant, bell peppers, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers and five varieties of tomato plants. We're pretty stoked if you couldn't tell. Can't wait to share more photos of the garden as it continues to grow.
Do you have a garden? What are you growing this year?
I couldn't think of a better day to welcome my favorite season than this very day. There's not a cloud in the sky and the weather is tops. I sat down at my computer this morning to catch up on the blog after a weekend of traveling and a day of computer malfunctions yesterday. It wasn't too long before this gorgeous day convinced me to take a springtime stroll instead.
I grabbed my camera phone and took off around my neighborhood capturing all the lovely sights of spring. I love seeing the trees in full bloom and the budding flowers ready to pop. Everything is alive again which is so inspiring. I felt like clicking my heels and singing zip-a-dee-doo-da right along with the birds and the bees. Happy Spring indeed!