Friday, September 12, 2014

Build something with me.

As promised here is the video of Matt Browns beautiful new song, Build something with me.  A collaboration with Ryan Root and billed as Brown & Root.

MB Build 498 from Wendy on Vimeo.

Available on iTunes here.

Happy Friday all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Matt Brown, Concert at the Creek 2014

Life is just a big pile of experiences that serve to teach, stretch, and fill our hearts along the way.  I try to see it all, the good as well as the bad, knowing it's the whole sum of these parts that serve to build a meaningful and well balanced life.  The past few years I have been both inspired and challenged to really suck the marrow out of this life, push the limits, and dare to ask more questions.  How can I make this more meaningful?  How can this situation be better?  What would it take to elevate this from ordinary to extraordinary?  And if I have learned anything, it's that good things want to be better.  Like attracts like and before you know it, that momentum builds and opens doors to experiences you never imagined.

Three years ago we saw an up and coming singer/songwriter at a small restaurant and we became instant fans.  The talented Matt Brown is the real deal and if you have not heard of him yet, it's time you take notice.  A few emails and phone calls over the next few months and the wheels were in motion.  Our vision became reality when, the following summer, he played an epic private concert on our friends deck.  We called it Concert at the Creek, you can see that post here.  It was an amazing evening and I imagine Matt hadn't even made it out of the driveway, after that concert, before we were thinking about planning a repeat for the following year. 

This past Saturday night was our 2nd Annual Concert at the Creek and let me tell you the combination of this venue and this artist yields a magical evening.  And if this post does anything I hope it inspires you all to dream just a little bit bigger, find the magic in the everyday and encourage it to stay awhile. 

The venue for the evening was our friends lovely home along the banks of the Pilchuck Creek.

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We spent the entire evening gathered on the deck, warming up around the fire pit and relaxing along the gentle slope of the grass, while soulful blues, jazz and a bit of rock swirled in the air.

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Yeah, lets take a closer look at that vintage bed tucked among the apple trees.  I'm sure you can see unicorns if you squint for just a minute. 

Seriously, how over the top is this?

Two lucky guests enjoyed a sweet nights slumber beneath a crystal clear night sky filled with stars. you're seeing the unicorns aren't ya?

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It was about six o'clock when Matt set up on the deck with his signature vintage suitcases and state of the art sound system and our intimate concert was underway.  The weather was perfect with a warm August afternoon sun that set around eight and left us with a cool but comfortable evening. 

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Sixteen acres of old growth cedars and a parched summer creek were the perfect backdrop for this special evening.  And right before sunset, as the sun hung low and illuminated the dry creek bed in the distance,  the "magic hour"  was made even more memorable with his signature tunes including, the Best of you, the Acrobat, and  Little does she know.  

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A gentle slope by the deck became a mini amphitheater and was a great space to take it all in, the deck, the music and the creek in the distance.

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Brenda and I picked 100 stems of white dahlias earlier in the day and had them bursting out of mason jars and galvanized buckets placed around the entire setting.  It was beautiful, casually elegant and completely fitting for the evenings event.

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On the deck we set up appetizers that each guest brought to share, beverages and a full dessert table that slowly depleted as the evening went on.  Chocolate cake, coconut cake, cookies, biscuit and strawberry-rhubarb jam cobbler and cheesecake with strawberry sauce.  I can not imagine anyone left hungry.

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Matt took a short break mid way through, had a bite to eat and visited with the guests; all now big fans.  He had cd's for sale and shared how his career has unfolded since moving to Nashville last year.  We are all looking forward to the release of his two new cd's this fall.  And he has more exciting things on the horizon, so keep an eye on his website for more information.

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And because every great concert has to have a t-shirt souvenir, I had a few custom made, one for myself and one for John.  CustomInk did a great job on the t-shirts and I was thrilled at the quality and how they came out.

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Matt played a great mix of his own music and some classic covers of old jazz and blues and then ended the night with his version of "Kiss" by Prince; which I caught most of on the video below.

DSC 7294 from WA Nutting on Vimeo.
Soon I will have another post dedicated to his beautiful new song, Build something with me.  So come back and check it out.  And by all means if you are in Nashville or the surrounding area, check his schedule and go see one of his shows. 

Have a lovely day, dream big and "make it count!"

We have but one life, what is it you plan to do with yours?"
Mary Oliver                           

Monday, July 28, 2014

Come sail away!

Three years ago I surprised my Sweetie with a sunset sail on Puget Sound for his birthday, we both loved it.  We had never been sailing in Seattle and we were hooked from the moment the sails went up.  I blogged about it, we told friends and we have talked a lot about returning.  So with his birthday once again upon us and a warm sunny forecast predicted for Saturday I figured this was the perfect way to celebrate.  I called a few friends and we made plans for dinner along the waterfront and a lovely evening sail.

We all met at The Crab Pot on Pier 56 and timed it perfectly to dine and catch the "Neptune", with Let's Go Sailing, promptly at 7pm.

The sun was high and bright.

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As soon as the sails went up, the boat leaned into the wind and swiftly carried us along the edge of the busy waterfront,

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...past the Great Wheel,

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...and then straight into the sun.

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We shared a bottle of wine and laughed as the boat angled into the wind. 

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Before too long we had journeyed eight and a half miles across the Sound into a little cove on the East side of Bainbridge Island.  While the boat anchored for a few moments and the sun hung just above the tree line, we snapped selfies, tried to capture the scenic beauty and daydreamed of living in one of the lovely homes along the waters edge.

The evening light was gorgeous, a beautiful soft amber glow and the reflection of the liquid gold on the deep blue water was mesmerizing.

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And the view back towards the city was spectacular too. 

Hello Seattle.

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Let's Go Sailing, has two sailboats the Neptune, our boat, and the Obsession, seen in the photo below.

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I have been in the Pacific Northwest 20 years and Mount Rainier still slays me.  It's sixty miles to the South, yet it feels like you could reach right out and touch it.

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As the sun set, the wind slowed a bit and leveled out our ride back.

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The city was gorgeous on the way back, washed in pale blue and lavender pink.

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...and least we forget the Space Needle.

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We gently glided back to the dock just after the sun set and the lights of the city came on. 

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Oh sailing, how I love thee.

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Thank you to everyone who came out and made this such a special night, and thank you to the staff and crew of  Let's Go Sailing, we will be back.
Wishing you all a lovely day, go do something fun!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

WRITE:Doe Bay Slideshow

I have been working on this slideshow for a while now and finally put the finishing touches on it tonight.  It contains some of my photos many of the talented Jesse Michener's photos, who also happens to be a co-creator of this amazing workshop, WRITE: Doe Bay.  My original post on this writing retreat can be seen here.  This slideshow, along with the beautiful song, "The Acrobat",  written and performed by Matt Brown and the Connection, pretty much sum up the feeling's I took away with me. 

WRITE Doe Bay Spring 2014 from WA Nutting on Vimeo.

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Strawberry Cake.

Strawberry Season is here, yay!  I love strawberry season it reminds me that even though the clouds are looming it is indeed summer and I better get to enjoying it because, in Seattle, the weather can turn on you in a flash.  So I look forward to things that remind me of summer and strawberry season always prompts me to savor all the sweetness this season delivers.
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I have professed, in the past, I am not a jam maker but that does not stop me from picking a farm tote or two, full to the brim, of these vine ripened ruby gems.  And every time I am at the berry farm to pick, I am asked by other pickers and often the cashier if I make jam.  A somber "No", is always my reply and it seems to be met with a bit of disappointment.  And with an heavy eleven pounds of sweet berries they just can't help but reply, "Well, what do you do with them?"  And sometimes I feel a bit of shame as so many pickers are jam makers.  I always feel a bit less than for just a moment until I start rattling off my sweet plans for my own strawberry haul.   "Well we eat them fresh, we use them in smoothies, salads, I make lemonade ice cubes, and I make this amazing strawberry cake that is incredibly delicious".  Their eyes a bit more intrigued and then all of a sudden the shame is lifted as I describe, my cake.  Well, it's actually Deb from Smitten Kitchen's cake but hey I am the one making it here and I must admit, as I describe the "puddles of jam" and the "dimpling batter", I own this cake.  I always give her credit but my enthusiasm as I share her recipe feels as if it were my own discovery.  
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Deb's blog Smitten Kitchen is one of my all time favorites and I gladly sing her scrumptious praises.  But let's get back to this cake because this faintly sweet, delicately crisp cake that buckles around the berries like a country quilt is freaking amazing.
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Summer Strawberry Cake.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the original recipe calls for a cup of sugar plus 2 tablespoons but I cut ¼ out and thought it worked perfect.
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound farm fresh, just picked strawberries, hulled and halved, store bought berries will not yield the correct results, consider yourself warned.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  I also have also done this in a 9X13 pan and I used one and a half times the recipe.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer, and yes, I had to squeeze the last few berries in. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with homemade whipped cream.

This year I made two and froze one.  I will update later on how that worked out.  Deb says it will be fine on the counter for two days but good luck with that.

I shared this with a gal last year at the berry farm and Shannon left me this comment on my blog post the very next day, "I heart you!!! Bumping into you at the berry farm this morning ended up being heaven to my taste buds. I made your cake and it was devoured in seconds. The second one is in the oven. I did make jam too but the strawberry cake(s) > jam. Thank you!!"

...and a special thanks to the Biringer Farm, that's where I pick and their berries are the best!

Enjoy and  let me know if you try it and what you think, we think it' a keeper.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The gift of words, friendship, connection and the magic of Write: Doe Bay.

There was a lot of divine intervention at Doe Bay. The three and a half years that preceded my attending this retreat seem connected somehow. I have written and re-written this post every day since returning. Finally I just gave in went back to my original draft, re-read it, and left it exactly as it was. I did split it in two parts, the path that led me to Doe Bay and WRITE: Doe Bay – the retreat.

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The path that led me to Doe Bay.

I, like many others, was a bit nervous signing up for a writing retreat. Was I really a writer? I knew I enjoyed writing my blog, but I hesitated for a moment before signing up for this retreat. I think it was the idea of the kind of writer I wished I would become that drew me to attend Write: Doe Bay. I want to be a writer that connects with others. I want to share my ideas and thoughts in an effort to inspire people to make each day count. I want to live authentically, to embrace it all, the happy and the sad, the tough times and the amazingly good times. I want to share that because someone else shared that with me and I am in awe at how powerful that can be.

I had followed Kelle Hampton’s blog, Enjoying the Small Things, for almost four years. Kelle’s voice always spoke to me, it was almost like she showed me a part of myself that was always there but tucked just out of reach. I found her blog shortly after my sweet friend Diane had been diagnosed with both stage 4 ovarian cancer and a second primary cancer in her breast. I was devastated by my friends’ cancer, and I guess in hindsight, I was looking for something to make sense.  

Kelle’s blog made sense, it changed my perspective and it changed how I reacted to my friend's diagnosis. I honestly feel her words helped stitch my broken heart back together and that really surprised me. How did this blogger 3000 miles across the country have that gift, that power?

Kelle has shown me that even though we are all so different, even though our lives are completely different, we really are all the same. We love the same and we are sad the same, but most importantly we all have the ability to make the most out of every day, not just the good days. She has shown me through her own pain and within the depth of sadness, there is beauty. She showed me that if you choose to show up and walk through it, you will be better for it.

In the past three and a half years I have learned that when we are faced with painful times, we instantly get a crash course in reality. When we are forced to deal with difficult times we learn to let go of things that are too heavy, things that don’t give back to us, we cut out the drama and we really find what is most important to us. We end up editing our life because we know that life can change in an instant and we want each moment to count. So we are more conscious to suck the marrow, throw caution to the wind, and to live authentically. We love deeper, have more gratitude, more patience and a deeper understanding of what is really important in life. Instead of competing with others we see the value in supporting one another. Instead of taking from the world around us we are driven to give back, and leave the world better than we found it. And all of a sudden we linger with friends a bit longer, we are the last to let go of a friendly hug and we are compelled to make the most of our, one wild and precious life. And the incredible side effect of that perspective is our life becomes more meaningful.

Kelle’s blog is honest, raw and real and it was such a gift to me. I emailed her a few times over the years and thanked her for showing me through my own sadness.

She always wrote back.

It was December when I saw Kelles' post about Write: Doe Bay I knew I wanted/needed to be there. It is easy to get distracted in life and it seemed my life was taking me away from my writing. I needed to be refueled and inspired with regard to my blog among other things and I thought this writing retreat would rekindle that, and I knew it would be filled with kindred spirits.  So, after triple checking the cancellation policy, I signed up. I honestly did not think I would cancel but I had doubts if I was qualified to be there.

Soon came Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. I would call my friend regularly and we visited as much as we could. And then, like a switch was flipped, I started to see her change.   A few weeks later there was a hospital bed delivered to her home and a book supplied by hospice that detailed what we were to expect. Gone from my sight, is a little book that I found so valuable.  It can be read in just a few minutes and truly walks you through the process of dying in the most gentle and beautiful way.  Family came from out of state, the most vibrant rainbows were seen over her home, and love filled the air in her final days.

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My sweet friend passed gently, on April 2nd, at home with her husband by her side.

Three years and seven months had passed since her initial diagnosis but we chose to look at that time differently. We saw that time pass, not in days but in picnics, in dinner parties, and in champagne bottles. We saw time in the weekend trips to the beach, the laughter, the amazing low tides and the long summer evenings in the backyard. We measured time in the hugs and the "I love you's", and the deeper connection we found post cancer.  My friend once told me over lunch, that through cancer she had found a connection to others, to the universe and to herself.  She said she had been searching for that connection her entire life, and then she paused and said, “As strange as it sounds, I have to thank cancer for that.”  She was amazing.
She loved my little blog and she was equally excited for me to attend this writing retreat on Orcas Island. I have not written much in the past six months.  The last thing I wrote before going to Doe Bay was her obituary. It was hard and healing and left me very raw.  Concerned about going away so soon after her passing, I found myself completely afraid. Afraid of letting it all come out. What if the pain settled in? What if I arrived there and couldn’t stop crying? What if I was angry? What if I was not really myself? What if…?

I really had no expectations of this retreat. I think every so often things just unfold as they should and Doe Bay did just that.  A two hour drive North with a quick stop at the tulip fields, an hour and a half ferry wait then an hour ferry ride and another forty five minute drive over rolling hills, scenic vistas and pristine waters I had finally reached Doe Bay Resort.

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I felt completely away.

I arrived at Doe Bay raw, my head swirling, and a little lost. I met some amazing people, true kindred spirits and I intend to keep and nurture those friendships. I learned a lot in 3 days, both creatively and technically. And I left with a new focus, a stronger voice and a deeper confidence in how I want to share my words and thoughts. I also left with a deeper connection to those who truly open themselves up, it’s hard to do.

And Kelle, yeah she’s pretty amazing. She speaks in hugs and with a focused attention to her audience of one or thirty eight. She is open and lovely and I thanked her for the gift of her words.

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WRITE: Doe Bay - The Retreat.

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Doe Bay, is known for many things, a resort for Hippies, home to a renowned music festival, an award winning farm to fork restaurant, and for its pristine 38 acres on the edge of Orcas Island. And Doe Bay is all those things but for the 38 creative beings that shared meals, cabins, music, poetry and stories from April 10th-13th in Spring of 2014 it will always mean so much more.

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I loved at Doe Bay, I gave myself away and took a bit of everyone with me when I left. And I felt at Doe Bay, a deep connection with each and every person within our very special group, and within myself. I laughed and cried and was uncomfortable and completely at peace, all at the same time. I gained insight on how to move past writers block, how not to let other voices change my own, how to see each moment with a bit more beauty and how to procure the avenues to share my words and see my stories published, if that happened to be my goal.

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Returning from Doe Bay has been different than I expected. I left early the next morning, before the closing ceremony, to attend my friends’ service; which was set for that afternoon. Sometimes I wish I had stayed for that closing ceremony, wrapped up my experience with the ritual I heard takes place on that last day. I wonder if there was cohesiveness in the closing day that would have sent me back a little more complete than I felt when leaving. It’s hard to imagine but in many ways I actually felt a bit more raw and unraveled than when I had arrived. I have since learned that we all felt this way upon “re-entry”.

Arriving home, those 3 days away felt like a year.

Life has been a bit of an adjustment since coming home, sinking into my friends passing, busy at work and balancing getting back in my routine. Sometimes it feels as though I am afraid to lose what was discovered on that tiny island. So keeping that in mind, my goals post Doe Bay are as follows: I intend to fit more creativity into my life, music, books, art, I need it. I intend to seek out more of what brings me joy, truly connecting with others. And I intend to let my voice share, inspire, guide and give back.
Many people have asked me about my time at Doe Bay and I find it somewhat difficult to explain. I have read my fellow Doe Bay writers’ words describing their own experience and while they are all so different they are all so incredibly accurate. I love reading their words, I loved meeting them and sharing that sacred space, and I know when we meet up again, we will pick up exactly where we left off. Until then I am grateful for social media to bridge the gap and I look forward to supporting their creative spirits.

We are storytellers, novelists, songwriters, singers, movie makers and poets. We write and share our stories, and we support each other in finding our own unique voice. And we are all forever changed and connected for our time and experience together.
     Photo credit Jesse Michener

We are different but we are also exactly the same, and we are better for attending Write: Doe Bay.

Thank you to Jenn and Jesse, thank you to Daniel, Kelle, Nici and Claire, thank you to Rebekkah, our amazing chef, thank you to Joe and the Doe Bay staff and thank you to the rest of the kindred spirits who left beautiful marks on my heart on that island far, far away.
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