Happy 101 Award: ten things and ten foodie blogs that make me happy!

I was thrilled to discover that Ricki over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs had given me a "Happy 101" award!  I was honored! Ricki is one of my favorite bloggers, role models, and online friends, and I was so pleased to make her happy list.  

One thing that I had to chuckle at was that Ricki and I have a remarkable amount in common - earrings, books, writing, drawing, love of trees.  My goodness, that combined with our ACD plans, I'd say we are kindred spirits for certain!  Her blog makes me very happy, so I was honored to get an award from her.

So, how does this "Happy 101" award work?  

Here are the rules:

1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender’s blog I’m supposed to pass this along to 10 bloggers.  

Let me start by saying that this blog and all of you are totally included on this list, because you brighten my day every day!  But I thought you probably knew that already, so I figured I would give you something else to read about.  I have a lot of love in my heart, and so many things make me happy, so narrowing this list down to ten was challenging. And I'm only allowed to mention TEN blogs that make me smile? That's impossible!  there are so many more!

Boy, do I have a lot of work ahead of me...this is hard.  So, here we go.  


My mom's accordion, which is now mine. I love playing the squeezebox!

1. Making music.   If food feeds my body, music feeds my heart and soul.  I started playing viola when I was in fourth grade, and immediately fell in love.   Over the years I also learned violin (very similar to viola), piano, domra (a Russian stringed instrument), and had a short-lived but passionate affair with the mandolin. A few years ago I picked up the accordion and taught myself how to play, and even performed a few times around Minneapolis! Here's a funny video of me from 2007 playing accordion. This was a mere 24 hours after I decided to teach myself; I tend to be a bit obsessive compulsive, and had a goal of playing a song for my grandma the next day at our 4th of July picnic. So, I figured it out, and played her a German waltz!  

I've improved significantly since then. :)  Anyway, back to my original love, viola.  I'm playing in a rowdy marching band/orchestra in this year's MayDay Parade.  I have dreamt of being in a marching orchestra since I was a kid, so this is a childhood dream come true! If you live in the Minneapolis area and want something fun to do on May 2, come watch me in the parade, and see the amazing huge puppets and other performers that are part of the parade! 

Last fall at the farmers' market. Look at those huge BEETS!!!!

2. Going to the farmers' market. The farmers' market is one of life's simple pleasures.  It is such a wonderfully sensory experience, so many colors and textures and smells and sounds.  I love connecting with the farmers, and being with people who love food as much as me.  Minneapolis has lots of amazing markets, and I can't wait for them to begin!  I'm actually thinking of leading farmers' market classes this summer, sort of a how-to on shopping the market, learning about the vegetables, and sharing ways to cook them! 

My little brother and me, so long ago!

3. My family and friends.  I am blessed with an amazingly supportive family, and many wonderful, inspiring friends.   I should tell them all again and again and again how much I value them. Everyday I feel fortunate to know so many incredible people who are generous with their hearts, their creativity, their time, and their spirits.  I love the people in my life!  And truly, I consider all of you part of that circle; the online community I have found through this blog and other online groups has gotten me through the most challenging time in my life and connected me with amazing, like-minded, and inspiring people I never would have otherwise met. I look forward to the years to come and all the people I will meet!

some of my favorites, this is just a small portion of my collection!

vintage lucite bangle with BUGS inside. yes, real ones. sorry vegans.

4. Funky jewelry.  Like Ricki, I am a total jewelry junkie. I like it big, I like it funky, I like it unique, and I have a HUGE multi-drawer jewelry box thing that is overflowing.  If you want to make me happy, find me some wacky jewelry. Some of my current favorites are these awesome $.99 wooden toucan earrings I just found at a thrift shop, my lucite bangle bracelet with bugs inside, a goat horn pendant from Thailand, a huge turquoise necklace I bought at a craft show in Florida, and that big yellow beaded number.  I love vintage costume jewelry, and have lots from my great grandmother and grandmother.  I also like to make my own jewelry, and can't stop wearing my homemade feather earrings.  Speaking of feathers...

Crane taking off at Wekiwa Springs in Florida.

5. Birds and feathers.  I love all things avian.  I have small birds all over my apartment perched in plants and on my windowsills (a little quirky, but so am I, so it fits).   I collect feathers from the street, and I decorated my Christmas tree with pheasant and grouse feathers.  I have a small flock of birds tattooed on my torso.  I like to draw birds and take photos of birds and think about birds.  I just about flipped out when I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker.  I would like to learn more about bird identification, and I need to start my bird watching log, because I've seen some good ones.  Hooray for birds!

 My favorite animal.

6. Goats. If there is one animal I like more than birds, it is goats. I love them.  I have been obsessed with goats for years, and they are, by far and away, my favorite animal. I want a herd of them.  I love their fiendish, clever personality, and think they are just hysterical.  I squeal when I see them, and let them chew on my fingers.  Goats, I love you!

DIY! Old dish tub turned bike basket. Bike turned VEGGIEMOBILE! A basket full of produce after a garden run last summer.

7. Making stuff and DIY. I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfers.  We make things in my family.  I love making books, weaving, and photography.  I love cooking and doing stuff the old fashioned way.  I love drawing and sketching. I love sewing and making jewelry. I love learning more about graphic design and website development.  I love building stuff with wood. I like rigging up bike baskets out of old junk I find in my closet (see how I turned my bike into a veggie-mobile?) and doing fix-it work.  Hmn, can I make it instead of buy it?  If the answer is yes, I want to try it. Basically, I just love to create things and use my hands whenever I can.  My mind is always bubbling over with ideas, I just need more time in the day! 

Gardening on a particularly chillly day last summer. It was 50º F in July. thanks, Minnesota.

8. Gardening. I love to garden, I love to nurture plants and see them grow.  I grew up gardening as a kid, helping my grandpa on his plot of land, and growing plants in boxes in my family's backyard. In college I worked on an off-the-grid organic farm, and loved to feel that connection to the Earth and my food and the seasons.  Last year I had my very own garden for the first year since living in MInneapolis, and I loved it.  It was such a great release, and I loved nothing more than leaving work and putzing in the garden until sundown. This year, I found a great place to garden in someone's backyard (thank you, Craigslist!) and am drooling looking through seed catalogs and planning. I can't wait!  Heirloom veggies and edible flowers, here I come! I'm excited to share my garden with all of you this summer, through photos and recipes.

The Rockies.

Café crème in France, the only time I'll drink milk.Atlantic coast.


9. Traveling. I have a gypsy soul. I love traveling, seeing new territory, being in new places with new people and new things. It is so exhilarating to show up somewhere, and just see where the wind takes you. I want to wander and explore and see the world!  I have been fortunate to travel to Europe four times, spent a summer working in Maui, and have traveled all over the U.S.  I have traveled many other places in my daydreams; biking across Central America, doing the WWOOF program in New Zealand, hitchhiking through southern Italy, backpacking across India and Tibet, camping in Norway, studying acupuncture in China...  ah, dreams.  I'm going to try my darnedest to make lots of those dreams come true!  I wish I had better travel photos to share with you, but most of my good ones are on film or on discs or somewhere on my external hard drive...

Didn't you hear? Spandex is totally sexy. My dad and I went biking last summer on a day when I felt particularly spunky. Winter and antibiotics have made me gain about 15 pounds, so I'm not sure I'd feel quite as confident in those shorts... ;)

10. Biking.  I love biking!  Nothing makes me as happy as getting on my bike on a gorgeous day and taking a nice long ride.  And night biking on a warm summer evening? LOVE IT! Before I got sick I  used to bike commute all the time, completed a 300 mile bike ride fundraiser for HIV/AIDS organizations, and completed two triathlons! Lyme Disease makes it impossible for me to do things like that anymore, but I try to get out for short rides when I can during the warmer months, and when I do, I love every minute! I am excited to get better and be back to my old obsessive biking ways.  I have so many wonderful biking memories that involve many of my other favorite things from list above. Like when I was in France and my friend and I rode borrowed crappy bicycles with flat tires in the small village where he lived. We went to the farmers' market and out to the pubs at night. Or when I worked on the farm and rode my bike on country roads to see a neighbor's goats and chickens.  Or when my family and I would take bike rides around the neighborhood together when I was a child.  Ah, memories!

Okay, so enough about me.  Let's talk about some awesome bloggers.


Ten Blogs That Make Me Happy

I only get to pick ten? Seriously?  That seems impossible.  All the blogs I read make me smile! So, like Ricki, I tried to focus mostly on new bloggers, blogs I just started following, or blogs I've never mentioned in my posts before.  There are so many amazing bloggers out there, this is just scratching the surface!

1. Green Kitchen Stories - my new favorite blog lately, I'm positively obsessed with it.  David and Luise live in Stockholm, just had a baby, and make vegetarian, mostly gluten-free, almost always sugar-free food. They are charming and this blog is like a breath of fresh air. I adore it.

2. Hope for Healing. Written by Stephanie Laidlaw, a holistic health coach, the recipes are whole foods, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. She has great ideas and suggestions, and all her recipes look so yummy.  She just seems sweet, and I love her posts!

3. Gluten Free for Good. Melissa is a certified nutritionist and studied exercise science, and her passion for wellness is clear.  SHe is currently exploring eating organic, high-quality food on a low-income budget, and I'm interested to see more of her posts regarding this.  Her recipes are simple and wonderful, and she has a ton of other great info on her blog. 

4. Wallet Friendly Wellness. Written by Kim Trick, a fellow twenty-something Midwestern girl recovering from Lyme Disease!  Currently living in NYC, Kim is on the other side of the Lyme battle, which I find so inspiring. In fact, she ctually saw the same doctor I am.  Her blog is full of great ways to live well on a budget, and has good gluten free, healthy recipe suggestions. I admire her creativity, budget management skills (of which I have very few), positive attitude, and goal-oriented perspective on life. And we share the same name, so that's a good start too.

5. Celiac Teen. Lauren is so inspiring. She writes with a such a strong voice, takes beautiful photos, and bakes like a pro.  She organized and put together a cookbook to benefit Haiti, and contributed a another Haiti recipe book along with some of the most well-known bloggers out there.  And from the looks of her Tweets, this girl bakes all the time.  And she is still in high school! I am always impressed with her, and think she seems like the coolest girl in school.  She makes me wish I could be back to being 17 and blog and take cool photos like she does.  I think this girl will go far, and I expect to see a cookbook from her. 

6. Jenn Cuisine. I just started following Jenn, and all her food makes me hungry!  I found her through Twitter.  Her food always sounds fantastic, and I love how creative she is with her cuisine and flavor choices.  She lives in Switzerland.  Love it!

7. Heather Eats Almond Butter. Heather cracks me up.  It is apparent that she has a total zest for life, passion for healthy living, and is willing to try just about anything.  She made a green omelette for St. Patricks Day, made her own coconut butter, and uses a heat dish to ferment oatmeal and other grains. Why do I like this so much? Because I feel like I am just as experimental and willing to try anything (oh, the things I've done that have never found their way to this blog....).  Plus, I think she loves coconut butter and kabocha squash just as much as I do, which is hard to come by.  Her story is also very inspiring; she was able to lose a lot of weight and find a totally new lifestyle through making changes to her diet.  One of my new favorite blogs!

8. Chocolate-Covered Healthy.  Katie is vegan. Katie loves blended grains and chocolate and coconut butter.  Katie loves to run. Katie likes to have fun in the kitchen. Katie has her own thing going on, and because of that, Katie makes me smile and her blog makes me happy.

9. Lemon Basil - Allison writes about the Portland farmer's market, about great food, about loving life, about living happily and sustainably.   Her photos are beautiful, her recipes are inspired, and her food philosophy is simple.  I always smile when I see her blog!

10. KarmAlicia - Alicia is a naturopathic physician in training (also in Portland, like Allison of Lemon Basil!), and she writes a great blog that is full of recipes, detox suggestions, natural health tips, instructions for picking nettles, everything!  She is funny and knowledgeable and will be a great ND.  She is a dear friend of a friend, and I can't wait to meet her some day in person!