Seattleversary! 4 Years

The City Beautiful

Sunny Florida

Four years ago, one way ticket in hand, I boarded a plane that flew me far away from everyone I loved and everything I knew. It was the first time that choices were mine to make instead of my environment dictating what I must do. By all accounts it made no sense to move 3,000 miles away. I had no money, no real job prospects and only a sleazy motel to call home. I understood when certain members of my family cornered me and said I was making a huge mistake. I understood when my best friends felt put out and couldn’t be as excited as I was. While I miss seeing all my folks on the daily, Seattle is still the best decision I’ve made. It’s my magic city!

photo by Jared Wade

This is incredible photo is by Scott Dalrymple.

One month before I got on that plane, I got on this website. I posted this blog. Four years later I’m looking back at that first post teary-eyed. This is the place I come to to share all the odds and ends in life, one collected viewpoint. It makes me smile to reread posts about trying to learn how to stick with things! Duh! Clearly I’m capable of stick-to-it-ive-ness! In the past year Sunshine Press has gone from randomized whenever I feel like to semi-organized mostly consistent content. I thought it might be fun to talk about the changes made this past year and share where I’d like to go. Eh? Yeahhhh!

MENU:

We’ve added a section where I open up our kitchen and share recipes. Honeybee’s even shared one! Did I ever tell you how that whole thing started? Matt would text me early in the evening and ask what I wanted for dinner so he could bring it home from work. I realized I needed a list, a menu, so I could quickly get back to him. When we began, I wrote the list in a notebook, but then filled it with other random nonsense and blog ideas. Rather than rewriting it, I figured the internet would keep everything forever. And if you’re gonna post a list of food on the internet, you really should do the decent thing and show pictures of it. And boom! Next thing you know, there’s sisig and black beans and rice, tilapia, etc. It wasn’t until the caffeine free not-too-sweet sweet tea that I considered adding beverages, but as soon as I did it seemed like a no brainer. We love to mix up cocktails and punches! So you can expect to see more drinks in the next year! As well as the foodie goodness you’re used to!

MEET:

I know entirely too many wonderfully talented beautiful souls not to share them. Meet is my biggest challenge, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s my favorite section here. It takes a while for schedules to line up and editing, but it’s more than worth it! So far we’ve met Briana, Jeri, Matt and, most recently, Bethany. There won’t be too many changes here except that I’ll be working on keeping this a monthly feature [you know, instead of drifting in and out randomly].

Life List:

The life list has been up for a while, but this year I was able to cross a few big ones off. Find my love, keep him/her. Be published. Hang my paintings in my favorite coffee shop. Who can forget my flowing silk satin robe? And I told a funny joke. This next year you’ll see me focusing on the financial and educational goals as well as adding some new stuff to the list. Can’t. Wait.

Photography:

Taking pictures is something you can always improve upon. Sometimes I do great work, but I recognize that my camera/lens set up is limited. Until I can afford another upgrade, my plan is do become an expert at what I have. I’d love to go back through the Menu: and remake everything during the day to get the best shots. A lot of the time I’m challenged by poor lighting in our house. I mean we live in a basement people! But even in the above-ground kitchen where the walls are yellow, when I cook at night everything looks extra double yellow. In order to effectively get better I’ve been doing at least one photo-heavy post a month. This month’s was Out of the City and Into the Woods [part 1]. I figure that’ll give me a good chance to hone my skills and keeping it all fresh. As always I greatly appreciate feedback!

Design:

I’ve been using Polyvore to design rooms and outfits. Love it. Want more of it. At least one a month. Visualizing spaces is something I do for fun. I see a Domino magazine and my eye gets to twitchin, I love that there are so many ways to make a house, apartment, ranch, farm, bungalow, duplex, trailer, whatever into home. In the far off future I want to be able to offer interior design as a service, so putting together rooms here is great practice.

Projects:

There’s no shortage of stuff to do in this world. This year I finally stained that antique table! And you can’t forget those pre-wedding projects such as my Love Wins window, and paper garlands, vamping out my nightstand, and staining my dresser. Looking ahead here, you can expect a great deal more. I want to build us a bed and I’m starting to get the itch to repaint our whole room. Of course if I repaint it, then I’ll want to build new shelving. Possibly add mirrored panels to the sliding closet doors. You know me. A sunshine’s work is never done. Especially now that there’s Wrays of Sunshine Press, my wee Etsy shop. Coming up soon there’ll be new pieces as well as some practical items for the every day.

In general:

General changes have included the new layout, which I love. Simple squiggly chevron. But behind the scenes I’ve created and maintained a spreadsheet to keep myself on track with all this. Why? Because I must. There’s no reason except that I positively love to blog here. If I could, I’d quit my stupid mailroom job and blog full time, but I’m just not there yet. I’m hopeful for the future. The plan is to increase readership [through consistent dope ass content], then grow to accept sponsors…actually I’m now accepting sponsors, I just haven’t gotten any yet. Lols. That’s okay, though. There’s always room to grow.

If you or someone you know want to advertise their small business/blog send em my way!

More than anything, though, I’d really like to thank you for stopping in to my little corner of the internet whether you’re new or you’ve been with me from the beginning. I look forward to many more years of bloggage. Is bloggage even a word?

It is now. Just decided.

Xo,

Sunshine

The Way Sinister Rhymes With Minister

What is it, Tuesday? It feels like Wednesday and Thursday happened already and we’re being forced to repeat them starting tomorrow. Maybe it’s all the drippy rain and the accompanying grey skies. But, hey, it is Seattle outside. I don’t know, but I’ve seen some cray shit on the street this week. There’s a sinister edge the city and smiles have been hard to find. But if you’re lookin’ I got one for ya. They don’t call me Sunshine for nothin’.

Here’s a list of cray shit I’ve seen this week [so far]:

  • Girl falls off skateboard. Skateboard rolls into oncoming traffic. BMW strikes, destroys skateboard. Girl hulks the fuck out. BMW driver only cares about BMW.
  • Human feces.
  • Lady stumbles down the street bouncing off of buildings, barely there.
  • Dirty tampon, separate incident from feces.
  • 5 guys on the corner. 1 is inundated with large garbage bags with holes in them. The other 4 laugh. The 1 guy struggles. The other 4 laugh harder, begin to walk away. The 1 guy drops his load, screams, “come back!” The other 4 laugh harder, walk away faster.

Weird, yes? Yes. I can’t necessarily change where there’s poo or who’s bouncing off of walls, but I’ve got me.  We press on. We try harder. We move faster. And we really should remember to smile.

Sunshine

Life List Update!

I’m loving having this list up. Have I mentioned? Anytime I’m inclined to be bored I reread it and try to work toward one of my goals. I almost forgot to mention I totally achieved something recently. When I made the list, I wrote:

  • hang my paintings in a Seattle coffee shop/bar

I deliberately made it vague knowing that it was unlikely my art would be accepted to my favorite coffee shop in town [since some developer bought the building and they’re closing soon]. But I really wanted to see my art hanging up at Bauhaus. And then, as if by some sort of miracle, they put out a call to artists on Facebook. They wanted works that exemplified an End of an Era. I took a piece that I’d been working on for over a year featuring a gilded background and painted Bauhaus’ mascot on his motorcycle riding off into it. I love the effect.

If you’re in the Seattle area, you can visit the Wild, Plaid Yonder upstairs at Bauhaus until January 2nd! It’s $250, purchasable via Paypal. And keep up with my Much To Do List here as well!

Image

  • hang my paintings in a Seattle coffee shop/bar

It feels good to get something done!

xo,

Sunshine

The Thing About Couchsurfers

Abstract picture of a Couch.

Insert surfer here.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Couchsurfing website. Perhaps you are among the ranks of the million members boasted, clutching community to your bosom and welcoming strangers into your home. Mama Sunshine would be happy to know that I had a heartily raised eyebrow when the concept first arose. My mind flooded with questions that I was programmed with since kindergarten: are they going to kill me?, is this a cult? and no, really, is this a cult?

I was planning a road trip out west with little funding, so inevitably I registered for an account and typed out my mission. I read all the FAQs. I asked a lot more questions. Eventually Butterfly and I arrived at our first house in Austin, Texas. I found out quickly that Couchsurfers are an unconventional bunch that would offer to host you as they were moving to another city–furniture schmurniture. They would make a full buffet dinner and even play piano as you ate it. They would list every thing to do, see or eat in a fifty mile radius and every bus route to get there. They would attend outdoor parties in adverse weather and not complain about it.

Couchsurfers are, well, they’re fucking cool.

Our journey would take us across the United States via Interstate 10. We ran into la migra in the desert and people made of plastic in Los Angeles. We had the doughnuts in Portland, the coffee in Seattle and ended the surfing in Vancouver, B.C. For me, this was an anticlimactic ending. While British Columbia is beautiful to behold, the city and its people were not warm and the whole thing left a bit to be desired. Even the attractions weren’t particularly attractive. I challenge my own opinion. Am I being one of those dreadful American tourists? I did make fun of the tiny cups they serve juice in, but I didn’t insist on a refill or anything. No, no. That joke was all in good fun and I didn’t even laugh that much. More of a delicate chuckle. There’s something else going on here.

Almost a year later Butterfly and I are happily roommates living in Seattle. We share an excitement at the opportunity to host Couchsurfers and give back to the community. So far, we’ve been able to directly return the favor to two people who’d hosted us last year. All good experiences. Each surfer brought stories of their journey, a different awesome-sounding path that filled our living room with bouncy laughter or quiet wisdom. I could almost say the very same for the surfers from Vancouver we had over last night.

He was just back from Burning Man and she works for a yogi outfitter. Their hoodies have little holes in the sleeves for the occasional emo thumb and their devices start with “i.” They just bought a 5,000 square foot house with shag carpet in need of a good shampoo. They are one of those cute, happy couples television has warned us about. And they don’t even know that because they don’t watch TV. They’re that cute. They’re too busy going to Burning Man and visiting Seattle for a Utilitkilt for the next Burning Man.

I’m not hatin’. I appreciate a good hoodie. I’d love to buy a house, what with the market being what it is. I don’t even own one of those converter boxes that would make the local channels appear on my boob tube because I’m all about my Apple product (even despite its flagrant iBook G4 outdatedness). In theory this couple should have reinvigorated my stamina as a twenty-something in the big city. In reality, I’ve realized that thing that makes Couchsurfers so cool is that they are strangers you would assume to be so very different from you. Finding similarities in our mutual willingness to seek adventure at all costs makes the differences between us fall to the floor and we are connected.

Unfortunately, the thing about these particular surfers is even though they are the seemingly adventurous sort, such traits can simultaneously exist alongside whiny, intolerables like doing our dishes loudly at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. It seems nice, doesn’t it? Then he woke Butterfly to ask for a new sponge to do so. Hmm. And he was up early because he couldn’t sleep well because he’d had some marijuana. I’m sorry, what?! It couldn’t have been that latte you had last night when you never drink coffee?! And when asked why he insisted on washing our dishes said, “because I’m a good guest.” Really, are you?

Sure, there’s nothing so wrong about helping out. I’m sure lots of people find the sound of banging dishes at 9 a.m. charming. Okay, fine. I suppose some people just can’t handle their coffee. And marijuana’s blessings clearly aren’t for everyone. They’re not bad people–quite the contrary, in fact.

The thing about Couchsurfers is they’re all good, they just can’t all be gold.

To the Uptight Seattleite

Seattle trolley bus

King County Metro

It seems we’re coming upon my Seattleversary very soon. I’ve given directions to Pike’s Market, inhaled coffee, worn plaid, discussed Chihuly and recycled enough to call myself a Seattleite, but it wasn’t until today that I officially became uptight. I was on the bus heading downtown, as usual, only lately my route has gotten crowded. I mean, that’s okay. I’m all about squeezing in next to the jagged haircut sporting art student hipster with the tiny dog and the guy in the webbed toe shoes who wants to tell me all about them. I don’t mind my forehead occasionally getting to know the elbow of the blonde on the cell phone talking about nothing. She’s cool. She’s on her path, living her life, not bothering me at all. What makes me uptight are the stone cold downward glances from the people in front of me who seem to be expecting me to move back into the bendy zone where there are no hand rails for someone, say, five feet tall. They can clearly look over my head and see that the back-back is full. I know they can because they do. They look over my head forlornly, like a herd of giraffes that needs nothing more than to get past me. They’ve just got to have that bendy zone. So, I move aside and the herd moves back quickly. Leaving the one without a means to find their bearings. Realizing the lack of handrail, they try to backtrack to their surrendered spot only to have that dream shattered. Now, we’re sharing a pole. Their arm above my head. Sure, I could look on the bright side, I now have a working knowledge of every deodorant on the market, but that wouldn’t be very Seattle of me.

Sincerely,

A (Newly) Uptight Seattleite

P.S. Swore I saw you on Phinney Ridge last weekend. Looking fit.

Coming Across

This morning tapped itself into consciousness just a bit too soon, but I was nonetheless well-rested. I was ready to take on the shower that, for two days, scalded my skin. This particular shower is the kind where you twist the nob to the left for hot as coded by its red color and the right for cold in blue. I turn to the left hoping I wouldn’t be poached by the end and it immediately the steam poured onto my unlucky toes from the faucet.

“Why are you trying to kill me?” I asked.

I tried to deal with the heat, assuming other people must have survived it. I shaved, shampooed and prepared to condition when I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided I would rather have a freezing cold shower than a boiling hot one and turned the knob determinedly to the right, into the blue.

The water shot down faster, harder, with a vigor I had never seen on the hot side. I’d curled myself away from the stream to escape the steamy waters, this new setting piqued my interest enough to step proudly into the center of the tub where I found the most delightfully warm, perfectly pressurized shower of clean Washington water.

Problem solved, regular shower standards and practices were reinstated and I felt great as I stepped onto my brand new Miller High Life bath mat (that I got for a dollar. One dollar, people). I used my new blow dryer to dress these tresses with fancy product from Aveda. I, Instead of getting the gloss like I usually do in the dark blue bottle, went for the bottle of a lighter shade and it’s product is a bit sticky. I didn’t have any soap by the sink yet so I reached across the tub for my body wash and fell on the side of the tub, right across the middle of my stomach. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt for more than five minutes, but as the wind was knocked out of me I felt a little defeated.

I’d evidently won a battle, but not the war against this new tub. I’m plotting my revenge accordingly.

Butterfly picked me up for meditation and we headed down a road that I have a feeling I’m going know like the back of my  hand one day. After a few blocks we realized the traffic lights were off. Most people, the ones who at least skimmed their driver books way back in their teens, treated each intersection as a four-way stop. One did not. So there was a car accident right in front of us on the next block. We maneuvered around the scene unscathed and made it to meditation.

Our leader was an exceedingly happy Canadian man with white hair, white teeth and white pants. He almost gleamed at us and told stories about his family members. One of this guy’s cousins won a car. He taught us how to find our “peace twinkies” in the styles of fixed point mantric and visualization meditation. I learned that my imagination has a tendency to run away with itself when I visualize, so mantras are definitely the way to go for me.

At the farmer’s market I got a call from my Aunt Gloria. She asked me if I’d asked mom to send me something, which I hadn’t specifically but may have unintentionally implied something about anti-frizz serum.

“Oh well, she must have been looking for something when she went through your boxes and found a pouch with a pipe in it and asked me if it was a crack pipe.”

“What?”

“Yeah, and she asked me if that might be why you lost all your get-up-and-go.”

“What?” It was the only thing I could think to say.

“What?” My aunt Gloria makes nothing easy.

“Oh she found the pipe. Yeah, no. That’s not why I got depressed. I was depressed because I gave my all to corporate companies who all eventually dumped me, never went to college and because I couldn’t even get a job at 7-11. The pipe was a gift (which wasn’t technically a lie) and I still have get-up-and-g0 because I got up and went [to Seattle]. I’m going to call her.”

“No, no, no,” she said, “don’t call her,” which, to me, implies it wasn’t that big of a deal.

“Um, okay.”

The conversation ended awkwardly.

I waited about an hour before I got up the nerve to call Mommy. She didn’t answer on the house phone or either of her cell phones.

“I’m not on crack,” I promised the answering machine.

Butterfly and I lunched at Tandoor. There’s nothing quite as comforting as Indian food. I ordered the curry chicken at a heat point of 5. Butterfly had this amazing chicken in yummy spinach sauce.

Next there was coffee at Trabant on “the Ave” which is really called University Avenue. Guess what’s nearby. A university! In fact, THE University of Washington, Seattle. So the coffee shop was filled with Huskies. Some Huskies were studying. Some Huskies were  doodling. I watched the Huskies in their natural environment while sipping a vanilla latte breve, hold the ice.

Life is different now, I thought.

Down the Ave we met Mary at a vintage shop where Bruce Lee’s studio used to be and an international shop where everything was too cute.

Too cute, indeed.

Urban Outfitters is still that store for the hopelessly trendy stuff I see on mannequins and in coffee shops which is all cool, but could be made easily at home yet I still feel inclined to buy. I left there with ideas for our new home.

The day was good and ended with hugs all around. I have apples and bananas on my window sill thanks to my newest sister, there are at least four beers and my inner hippy purrs to Stuck In the Middle with you.

Brianna Estella Brumfield

Seattle, WA

13 Days & Counting

He likes big butts. He cannot lie. My kinda guy.

We’ve entered the fateful two week range of the mighty move to Seattle. All the arrangements have been made. I will fly out from Orlando international at 7.30 am and then lay over for an hour and a half in Phoenix. I’ve decided to keep up with my tradition of having a beer during layover because it’s important for a girl to have traditions all on her own. After that I land in Sea-Tac at about 1.30 pm. Butterfly’s taking the day off to meet me at the airport.

As excited as I am, it seems strange to be leaving this place with all the people I know and love. Yet, I certainly didn’t imagine myself living here forever. So, I guess I had to pack up and leave some time.

I found out last night that Sir Mix A Lot lives in Seattle.

Yeah, I’ll leave you on that note.

Pressed

Hi there! Hey! Hello!

Welcome to my little corner of the internet!

I’ve joined the ranks here at WordPress to keep all the stuff I love and chronicle my move from Orlando to Seattle. I’m headed out of the Sunshine state in just under three weeks.

The City Beautiful

peace out sunny florida

Does Seattle have enough room for one more pair of Chuck Taylor’s? We shall see.