Archive | January 2012


squirrel and the biggest chocolate muffin. Ever.

I need to admit something to you.  I have a slight squirrel obsession.  Back in my homeland of Sheboygan the squirrels are kind of mean, but oh my goodness, Minnesotean squirrels are quite the opposite.  They are the friendliest little beasts ever.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Freshman year.  T-Hall.  A squirrel was sitting on a trash can eating/munching on a bag of  half eaten Supreme Doritos ( Personally I think he was probably wishing he could have had the Buffalo wing/Bleu Cheese Doritos instead but whatever , I supposed Doritos are Doritos to a hungry squirrel) Anywho, I walked past the squirrel and it did not even flinch but rather kind of stared at me.  Thinking this was weird, I walked backwards and stared back at the squirrel.  It still didn’t move.  I swear it smiled at me.  Not kidding.  From this day on my “like” of squirrels grew into an obsession.

Sometimes when it is nice out my sister Kiera and I go squirrel watching.  One of the best places to squirrel watch is in Loring Park.  Literally there are more squirrels running around there than flavors at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Shop. ( That is 31 for all you non ice cream obsessed people out there).  Kiera and I go to Panera Bread before hand to get Bread bowls so after we finish eating our soup we can chuck the rest of the bread bowls at the squirrels.  They LOVE this.  The squirrels go buck wild diving after the bread, racing up the trees.  The daredevil squirrels come within about 2 feet of us to grab the scraps.  I wish I could reach out and give them a high five for being so brave.  Geez. What rockstars.  Anyway, I have some great vids of these little rascals playing tag but I will save that for another day.

Back to the Instagram picture above.  I am walking to class and I see this squirrel running around near the mall area on campus.  To some he may have looked lost, but to an avid squirrel watcher like myself, I knew he wasn’t just lost.  He was a scavenger.  He was starving.  All of a sudden he must have spotted this GIGANTIC chocolate muffin out of the corner of his tiny eye.  Squirrel, or we can just call him Peter, went bounding over to this muffin and literally began humping or hugging it like he had never seen a muffin this big before.  I mean it was quite a big muffin just to be left behind untouched.  Not only was it a whole muffin though, this squirrel cashed in big because it was chocolate.  IT WAS PETER’S LUCKY DAY.  Okay, well at this point I knew I needed to Instagram this because A.  I love squirrels and B. How often do you see a squirrel eating a HUGE CHOCOLATE MUFFIN. Oh and I failed to mention this wasn’t just any jumbo chocolate muffin.  This was an OTIS SPUNKERMEYER muffin.

Alright well enough about squirrels.  This may have been the weirdest post ever but we all know you laughed.  Which was the point.

Well laugh often and as always stay on the sunnyside.



to my rainbow

To the Rainbow. You know who you are…..
Since I was young I have always wanted to be just like you.  If you added an eraser to your collection, I did too.  If you wanted to play skip-it outside, so would I.  If mom French braided your hair, I would have mom braid mine too.  You must have thought I was your little shadow.
As we grew up, my admiration for you did not stop.  I will never forget that day after church when we headed down to the Trinity gymnasium to check out the Science fair results.  Not to my surprise you had taken first place; a little more honorable than my Participant ribbon.  Your athletic ability amazed me as well.  Every sport you played, I wanted to play as well.  Volleyball, Basketball, Track, Softball, etc.  Practicing volleyball in the driveway will always be one of my favorite past times.  Even though trying to pepper with me was quite the task you always seemed to never give up on me.
 Entering high school is a scary time for most, but not for me because there you were again. How cool did I feel because as a Freshman I knew all of the Junior and Seniors?  My coolness ranking was automatically at a 10… because of you.  Late night chats with you on my bed will never be forgotten.  Maybe I didn’t tell you this then but the nights I heard the garage door open and your footsteps come down towards my room, I would get excited butterflies in my stomach because I knew you were coming to talk to me.  You would come sit on the edge of my bed and we would talk for hours.  I miss those. Oh,  I will also take this time to thank you for all of the rides you gave me back and forth from anywhere and everywhere.  Most specifically the movie theater, so I did not have to be the loser picked up by mom at McDonalds after the movie was over.
 The day you left for college I cried. A lot.  My best friend had left me.  Days when we would argue over who got the car were done.  Days when you would wake me up in the middle of the night to go shower after you decided to sleepwalk into my room and wake me up were done. Even though you were only a phone call away, the nights where you would sit on the edge of my bed and tell me everything was going to be okay were gone.  People say you do not realize what you have until it leaves.  I guess I always knew I had a permanent best friend in you, but did not realize what our friendship meant until your first day of college came.  But your first day of college came and left.  Before I knew it I was looking at colleges.  It didn’t surprise anyone that the first few colleges I looked at were close to you.  University of Minnesota it was.
Three years have past and now I am a senior.  I could not have gotten through those years without you.  The day I found out you were offered a job with Target I cried.  Happy tears of course.  Not only was I so proud of you but I knew that this meant you wouldn’t leave me.  Throughout those three years we have become even closer.
You have taught me the value of hard work and dedication.
You have made me believe that I can make it on my own.
You have taught me that I can be dependent and independent simultaneously.
You have taught me that authenticity trumps all.
You have taught me to always say my prayers and thank God for how blessed I truly am.
Thank you for being a large part of the reason I am the confident woman I am today.
You are one of a kind.
 You are genuine.nurturing.motivated.driven.successful.caring.fearless.ambitious… the list could go on.  Sometimes I may not make it apparent but there is not a day that goes by when I don’t believe in you.
No matter what life brings you be strong because I know you are.
I love you Kiera.  To the moon and beyond.

to my sunshine

To the Sunshine… you know who you are…

There has been a person that God has placed in my life who helped me come to the realization that life does not give me set boundaries.  Life is no coloring book. What fun is there in staying within the lines?  From the day you would fearlessly jump into the Pacific Ocean and swim with fish that I didn’t even know existed, I knew you were going to be someone who would not let the world be your boss.  Rather you would literally be the definition of what Ghandi meant when he said, “ Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Since you started talking, after years of being bribed with marshmallows of course, I knew you were going to be one of the most intelligent people I would ever know.  You would rattle off what I liked to call 25cent words as if it were your job.  This made me realize that for the next however many years God decided to keep us on this Earth, I would learn something from you everyday.

You challenge me.  You make me want to go places I normally wouldn’t.  You make me want to see the good in everyone.  You make me want to experience growth outside of my comfort zone.  You make me think in ways I normally would choose not to.  Maybe you do not recognize the impact you have had on me and still continue to have, but it is immense.  You have helped me understand that the word “Scared” does not exist in Webster’s Dictionary.  You dare to dream, and the best thing about your dreams…. You make them happen.  I have never questioned your ability to take on a task because you firmly believe that God does not give us more than we can handle.  I don’t know if you believe this about yourself but please do. Even when the weight of the world may be on you, you never give up.  Somehow you know how to take what the world has granted you and run with it.

For years growing up I almost forgot I was your big sister because your maturity level surpassed that of mine.   Whether it was allowing me to have my husband during “house” be Enrique Iglasias even though I knew you wanted him to be yours, or not losing it with me when I hid your blankie, you were always the peacemaker.  I love you for that.

I want to take this moment to say thank you.  Thank you for continuing to make me want to strive to be the best.

I am proud that I get to call you my sister.
I love you forever and always Christiana.  Continue to be exactly who you are because people love you for exactly who you are.



If this does not SHOUT delicious to you I don’t know what does or will.  I look at this and the salivation begins.  The treat pictured above is homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Moosetracks Ice Cream in the middle. J’s mom gave me the recipe for the cookies.  best.recipe.ever. YUM is right.  OMG.  Talk about addicting.  I could probably eat about 2 dozen of these babies.

Over Christmas break I tried my hand at cooking/baking either recipes from food blogs or simply making up my own.  My parents received this overwhelming amount of quinoa( a grain with tons of protein) from one of my dad’s friends for Christmas. This resulted in me hunting on Pinterest for quinoa recipes on the daily.  I did end up making a Chicken Curry Chickpea Quiona Pita which was uber tasty for dinner one night.  My parents loved it which gave me quite the confidence boost ha. I decided that I was going to begin to cook and bake more.  The rest of break that is literally all I did.  Hunt for recipes to make.  I have now started a bookmarks bar on my computer called “Tasty”.   So far I tend to do better when I follow a recipe but at least I’m trying riiiight??  School has started which has made it kind of difficult to continue this but I’m working on it.  I made chipotle chicken tonight to use to make yummy wraps during the week.

Okay so we all know I love sauce.  On a side note, last night I went to Blue Door Pub and had the Jiffy Burger which consists of peanut butter, bacon, pepperjack cheese, and pickles.  Oh and I also had tots.  For all of you who have not had this burger (not you Norbs, I know how you feel about it) you are truly missing out.  Talk about the best combination of stuff on a burger ever.  I cannot even begin to explain. AHHHHHH!   But no burger is complete without sauce.  Lucky for me I was able to have jerk sauce, chipotle ranch, and spicy BBQ.  I made sure to douse each tot in those sauces before I popped it into my mouth.  Whenever I go out to eat I get so excited when they have a spot on the menu for just sauces.  Anyway, I am sooo off topic now so moving forward…..

Basically what I am trying to do this semester is try new things.  In the past I have tended to do what is comfortable but as I learned in my Leadership class “there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone”.  This semester I really hope to take that to heart.  My film photography class has also helped me experience something new and use a part of my brain I normally don’t use.. the creative side.  Well, I will leave the topic of photography class for another day….

Oh and please go to Blue Door Pub in Saint Paul and try this burger or another crazy good burger. You won’t regret it.

Well as often laugh often and stay on the sunnyside.



This is one of my favorite Instagrams.  Why?  Take a close look at it.  There is something really unique about the water.  On the left side the water is calm.  On the right side the water is choppy.  When I look at this picture I feel calm yet indignation at the same time.

 I often wonder how water in the same lake separated by just a pier could be take on such different forms simultaneously.  As out of the ordinary as this seems it is kind of how life works.
At times when life can make me feel the most anxiety, sadness, and frustration it allows me to focus my time and energy on things that do not make me feel those emotions.  Eliminate the things in life that bring forth the greatest sadnesses and find something or someone who brings refuge.  Like the lighthouse brings to sailors.
I seek refuge in Christ.  He is the calm to the storm and reminds me yet again of my purpose here on Earth.  As said in Phillipians “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds.”
 Life can be rough.  It can bring about obstacles that are as big as the choppy waves on the right side of this picture.  No one ever promised life would be easy.  If  life was always easy there would be no personal growth.  If there was no growth we would not learn things about ourselves that could make us better people.
So when life becomes like the water in this picture embrace it and know that you don’t go through anything alone. Focus your time and energy on people and things that make you feel the like the water by the Lighthouse.
Well as always laugh often and stay on the sunnyside.

Just another bench.

My best friend, and sister Christiana instagrammed this beauty right outside my house in Sheboygan one day. When I saw this picture it was love at first sight.  This picture encompasses pure bliss for me.  Just a glance at it brings forth an abundance of serenity, tranquility, and of course happiness.  I am taking a Hollistic Health and Healing class this semester with my friend Monica and last week we were asked to think about a time when we felt complete bliss.

A time when I feel complete bliss is when I run.  Whenever I go back to Sheboygan I love to go running on a trail that goes right along Lake Michigan.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Especially in the morning when the sun has come up and is glimmering over on the lake.  When I run I get to reflect on my things that are going on in my life.  I use the time to think about everything that I have been blessed with.  So many wonderful things.  Many times in life we tend to focus on the negative or things that might be going wrong.  But what about all the things that are going right?  Are we supposed to just forget about those?  A very wise person once told me (megan labarbera) that with every negative there is a positive.  When I keep that in mind life always gets a little better.

Today here is a list of 5 things I am thankful for.

1. Coffee with the perfect amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and splenda.

2. Every member of my family.

3. All of my limbs giving me the ability to walk, run, skip, jump…

4.Erbs&Gerbs, Toppers Stix/Pizza/MeganMeganCarrieCaleEmma

5. Special Friend

5.25. SAUCE.

What are 5 things that you are thankful for?

Well as always laugh often and stay on the sunnyside.


we can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. it’s not differences that divide us.  it’s our judgements about each other that do. there is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. am i becoming someone i respect? reality doesn’t change itself.  we need to act.

-margaret j. wheatley

Goal of stayingonthesunnyside:  A picture is worth a thousand words.. and then some. Each day I hope to share with you a picture I have taken on Instagram( the best application known to man) and express either a thought that the picture has evoked within me, simply just the picture and a quote to correlate, or just some random thought.  Enjoy.