Tell us about your blog/brand.
First I should say that I love almost anything southern, I always have and always will. But a few years ago, after my husband and I were married, I decided that the traditional southern foods that I grew up eating like fried chicken and macaroni and cheese weren’t doing my body any favors, so I decided to change things. I wanted to enhance my life in all ways including my health, so I started doing a lot of research and learning about exactly what food was meant to do for our bodies. I learned that, more than anything, it is meant to nourish. From there I developed the mindset that I must first nourish my body and mind to live a completely happy and healthy life. This became more than a hobby, it was my life and I wanted to share it with the world. So I started my blog, A Happy Healthy Heart and absolutely love it! I have big hopes and dreams for the brand and I love seeing them come true (but that doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work). Right now, I’m working on my first cookbook which, in addition to recipes, will have all kinds of lifestyle tips and tricks. My hope is that A Happy Healthy Heart becomes more than just an online resource, I want it to be tangible, real and relatable to anyone who is interested in learning about living a fulfilling plant-based lifestyle.
You are based in Nashville, right? Where are you from?
After we married in 2010, my husband and I moved to Nashville in pursuit of his music dreams. And we’ve been living them ever since! I love everything about Nashville except for the fact that I’m land-locked! I grew up near the coast of North Carolina in a small town outside of Greenville (reminder: North, not South, Carolina). The house I was raised in is on the outskirts of town where my mama and I could walk to church on Sunday mornings and had to drive past miles of cotton and tobacco fields just to get to the grocery store. I could never move north of the Mason Dixon line because I am so charmed by where I come from and it just feels good. I feel like Nashville is just “big city” enough but I still am so comfortable here. Where I come from, you can’t go to the grocery store without seeing someone you know and I love that. It makes me so happy to find that here in Nashville too.
What about the South influences your blog and recipes?
To say I’m inspired by the south might be an understatement! I am who I am because of where I grew up and how I was raised. I hope to share the hospitality, kindness, and grace that is natural to me with the people who go through the pages of AHappyHealthyHeart.com. It’s a way of living, and to me, it’s the best way. As far as the food and recipes go, the simplicity of southern cooking is found throughout every single recipe that I post. I like taking traditional southern foods and turning them into something healthy and nourishing. For example, my mom and I would make chocolate cake on Saturday’s when I was growing up but it was full of processed oils and sugar. I recently posted a chocolate cake recipe that tastes just as good but is full of nutrients and if you gave it to your grandma, she would never know the difference! I love sharing how I turned a traditional southern lifestyle into something that’s a little different but still pays homage to it’s roots.
Tell us about this recipe.
You know how, when you were little, you would spend all morning setting up the perfect curb-side lemonade stand and wait for anyone and everyone to come by and pay you a quarter to have a sip? Well this recipe is inspired by my memories of those sweet times but I added a little twist. To me, Watermelon Lemonade just hollers summer in the south and every sip I take brings me to a happy place. Juiced watermelon and lemons plus a little bit of sweetener make the perfect summer concoction.
What did you love about serving it with our Draper James tumbler and cups?
I have always loved watermelon prints on anything, I think at one point in my life I had a t-shirt with watermelons on it and a hair bow and shorts to match. So when I decided to do a lemonade recipe, I knew this pitcher and cup set would be so perfect! I love that the set isn’t glass so it can easily be taken outside for entertaining. I also love the size of the cups; they are just right for a tall glass of lemonade!
Where did you shoot these images? How does this fit into your perfect Memorial Day?
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? These pictures were originally shot at a completely different location with a different feel but after a lot of time spent trying to recover them, I learned that the camera card that was used was completely broken and the images were gone! So instead of crying over spilt milk, we quickly came up with a different plan and out comes these beautiful images! We set up in a park here in Nashville. The bright green background was perfect and we couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon to photograph.
You can ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I LOVE to picnic. Eating outside is one of my favorite things to do, so when I picture the perfect summer holiday, a picnic comes to mind. This year we will be doing just that and I can’t wait!
Describe the Memorial Day menu you’d serve this lemonade with.
Memorial Day is meant to be celebrated outside so I would love to host a handful of friends and serve an arugula salad with some nuts and a simple dressing. Grilled vegetable skewers with a side of quinoa salad paired with a strawberry tart for dessert sounds so perfect. This lemonade would pair wonderfully with all of these dishes and would be the perfect refresher to finish a warm day. I’ve always dreamed of having a large front porch where parties could be hosted so maybe one day that Memorial Day celebration will happen front porch style!