About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.

50 Things of Happy, Like Tauntauns and Windswept Hair

The thing is, there are way more than 50 things that make me happy.

More like 50 million. There’s something to be said, though, about thinking up 50 things right there on the spot. Once you start, you can’t stop. It comes out like happy bursts of lightning, and it changes like currents. What’s making you happy right now? What’s rocking your world right now? What made you smile today? What is it that makes you smile everyday?

I was tagged in a Twitter post about Authentic Happiness and I decided to rise to the challenge. I’m accepting this challenge to list 50 things that make me happy. And let me know something that makes YOU happy in the comments!

1 – When you’re standing close to someone you love and you’re not even touching but the electricity makes you think that you are. The heat and the hair on your arms makes you imagine the heat and the hair on their arms. It’s magnetic, love.

2 – That jean jackets are always in style, and even if they stopped being in style, we’d still be wearing them, wouldn’t we?

3 – When you grin at a stranger in public and they grin back and there’s a spring in your step, and maybe in theirs after that.

4 – The smell of coconut and how it always smells like beach vacations.

5 – The way the wind and humidity make my hair wild. I used to hate it and now I absolutely love it. The wilder, the better.

6 – Drinking something cold when you’re thirsty, which probably means you’re dehydrated, but it feels so great!

7 – When your fancy schmancy toothbrushing app says you did a 100% brushing job with your fancy schmancy toothbrush.

8 – The smell of lilacs, and how they bloom so suddenly and rampantly.

9 – That I can drive anywhere I want, or take a plane, train, bus or boat ride, if I really want to do so.

10 – Rainbow everything. The rainbow colors in order, or at least the way we put them in order.

11 – When there’s cash in my wallet, and even though it doesn’t negate that there’s money in my bank account too, it still makes me feel like I’m temporarily rich and I dream up all the places I want to go to spend that “found” money!

12 – That I have a secret I’ll get to announce on Facebook next Thursday. I’m really not being secretive to be secretive. You can totally message me or text me and I’ll tell you, but I’ll swear you to secrecy from my kids. Or ELSE. (still not a baby)

13 – When your salted caramel or peanut butter sauce sinks to the bottom of your ice cream sundae and takes the sprinkles down with them. Then the end of the ice cream sundae is as exciting as the beginning.

14 – Late night silly movies with popcorn, or said ice cream sundaes.

15 – Dog parks.

16 – When wit overtakes you, and you keep making yourself laugh with rapid fire text or email responses.

17 – When there’s nothing to do but read a book in the sun.

18 – Reading Yankee Magazine in a bath with bubbles that glisten and shine.

19 – Flannel pants with drawstrings.

20 – Frolicking dogs on a dog beach.

21 – When you’re drinking an iced coffee drink with whipped cream and you put the straw at the top of the drink to get a mouthful of whipped cream and whatever wonderful syrup or candy comes with it. Best first sip ever!

22 – The soft parts of my cat’s belly, and that she lets me pet her belly! I thought cats mostly don’t like that.

23 – The character of Lafayette in Hamilton.

24 – When you’re smiling over the phone, and you know they can hear it. Or vice versa.

25 – The way Athena meets people at the park and then trots to my side as if to say, “This is my person! Isn’t she cool?”

26 – Using Alexa (Amazon Echo) to play Bruce Hornsby while I’m in the shower.

27 – Buying Rice Krispies or Cheerios just to put a splash of cream in the bowl with the milk.

28 – Going to a restaurant or movie alone.

29 – Dressing up for Halloween, or just because.

30 – Feeling physically good, nearly always.

31 – The smell of coffee even if you don’t/can’t drink it unless it’s decaf.

32 – Kid giggles that YOU caused.

33 – Parades.

34 – That Des is still so young that he thinks he’s in love with me.

35 – And that his hair hasn’t been cut in two months.

36 – When you’ve taken a picture and you know it has that IT quality – that pure moment/vision magic.

37 – It’s pretty much the same with writing.

38 – When your heart pitter patters. Even if it’s all wrong or all right, and even if it’s just a trigger or a flash of something else, or something you thought was long buried. Whatever it takes, whatever it is, it makes you feel alive.

39 – That at least one of my kids hears Laurel, like me, even if the other is Team Yanny.

40 – That Scarlet still likes to dress like me.

41 – When you’re out in public and see a local business owner or public figure and you geek out a bit to see them, AND, they know who you are!

42 – When you’re already excited for breakfast the night before.

43 – Oh, the places you’ll go.

44 – When you create your own work schedule and can take off any day, week, or month, within reason, and go on adventures.

45 – That Cassidy and I got each other anniversary gifts that have to do with Dire Straits: “Romeo and Juliet.”

46 – That Des was flattened by the end of Charlotte’s Web. I don’t want him to be sad, but I’m glad he feels things strongly.

47 – That I’m going on a staycation this weekend and have a hotel room in South Deerfield for work. There’s a pool!

48 – That there’s a hierarchy of rainbow sprinkles, and I know where to find the good ones.

49 – That my friend Tara made me 50 Shades of Grey cupcakes for work.

50 – So there’s a Tauntaun in our house. I knew it was coming. We don’t like animal heads/busts on our walls, but figured mythical or science-fiction creatures would be ok. It took forever to come and Cassidy didn’t tell me WHEN it was coming. So I brought home the kids and Scarlet’s best friend from school on Wednesday and Des had to poop. Badly. Scarlet and Ella thought it would be funny to race into the bathroom ahead of him and slam the door. Poor kid had to go! So he went upstairs to use our bathroom and came running back downstairs. Apparently he had found a “monster” in our room lying on the floor staring up at the ceiling. I went back upstairs with him to dispel the monster myth, but happened upon a Tauntaun.

Cassidy said it couldn’t have gone better! Poor Des could have pooped his pants.

What makes you happy?

Summer Recipe Series: Tomato and Vidalia Onion Pie

This post is sponsored by the Vidalia Onion Committee. All thoughts and drool-worthy photos are my own.

It's only Vidalia Onions for me! See how the most famous onions in the world have quite a history and make the best tomato pie recipe ever! #ad #OnlyVidalia

It’s funny when someone who is “not an onion person” is writing a post about onions, right?

Hear me out. I AM a Vidalia Onion Person. I always have been. And I can remember my dad talking about them and using them for his recipes, especially his homemade burgers. I loved how sweet they were to the taste, and how when my dad chopped them, it didn’t make me cry or make my eyes sting. I knew they were something special, and something different, and I vowed to find ways to use them to the best of my abilities. That’s how I came to make Tomato & Vidalia Onion Pie.

We had a neighborhood potluck years ago and one of the neighbors I didn’t know brought a fresh, unbaked tomato pie to put in our oven. I remember how the kitchen changed as the pie cooked. It smelled like late summer! It was a wonderful party and I thought the only thing missing in her pie was Vidalia onions. She had used leeks or scallions and it didn’t have the same effect. It needed a new sweet crunch. So I made it myself for another occasion. And I couldn’t believe how good it was!

The best tomato pie recipe will have a sweetness and a crunch, although it’s a savory dish. Summer tomatoes are juicy and sweet, although my recipe involves drying them as much as possible so they don’t overpower the pie. Luckily, Vidalia onions hold their own. They are planted by hand and each winter, growers plant over 80,000 Vidalia onion seedlings per acre!

vidalia onions

vidalia onions

vidalia onions

Summer Recipe Series: Tomato and Vidalia Onion Pie

Summer Recipe Series: Tomato and Vidalia Onion Pie

Ingredients

  1. 1 pie crust - from scratch or store-bought
  2. 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
  3. 1 large Vidalia Onion, sliced thin
  4. 1-2 tsp salt and pepper
  5. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  6. 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  7. 1 cup grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  8. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  9. 1/3 cup mayonnaise

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 2. Slice tomatoes and lay them on a cutting board with paper towel
  • 3. Sprinkle them with salt, cover them with more paper towel, and allow them to dry for 15 minutes
  • 4. Combine the mayonnaise and two cheeses in a bowl and set aside
  • 5. Layer your tomato and Vidalia Onion slices in the pie crust, alternating layers
  • 6. Sprinkle the mix with pepper and drizzle olive oil over the vegetables
  • 7. Sprinkle on chopped basil and then spread cheese/mayo mix on top
  • 8. Add extra basil on top
  • 9. Bake pie for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown
  • 10. Enjoy!
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Looks awesome, right? The Vidalia onion originated in 1930 and 100 registered South Georgia growers produce the crop each year! That means these seasonal treats have been cultivated for more than 80 years by grower artisans. It’s the world’s first sweet onion! I think the world was ready for it because the distinctive taste is derived from the weather, water and soil uniquely found within 20 South Georgia counties. That’s somewhat crazy. They couldn’t grow up here with our weather!

vidalia onions

That’s because they get their sweet flavor through a combination of mild winters, low sulfur soil, and a seed variety that has gone through rigorous testing. It definitely makes you appreciate each bite of a Vidalia onion. So hard earned and unique.

And it makes me more appreciate my tomato pie!

vidalia onions

vidalia onions

vidalia onions

These sweet onions are revered by some of the world’s best chefs and home cooks. It’s all about that sweet, distinctive flavor. And they have limited availability so you have to get them while you can! Vidalia onions are hand planted, harvested, and cured each season, and the sweet and juicy bulbs are only available between April and August. So that’s NOW!

Enjoy these seasonal treats for spring and summer.

It's only Vidalia Onions for me! See how the most famous onions in the world have quite a history and make the best tomato pie recipe ever! #ad #OnlyVidalia

You can use Vidalia onions on salads, sides, dressings, dips, and even with desserts! Purchase them in your local grocery store after April 20th! (now) And visit vidaliaonion.org to find out much more about these amazing, seasonal gems.

It's only Vidalia Onions for me! See how the most famous onions in the world have quite a history and make the best tomato pie recipe ever! #ad #OnlyVidalia

What would you make with Vidalia onions?

It's only Vidalia Onions for me! See how the most famous onions in the world have quite a history and make the best tomato pie recipe ever! #ad #OnlyVidalia