Author: Misty Morning Design

Hi! I'm Misty and I'm the owner of Misty Morning Design - a design company + blog for people who like pretty things.

30 Every Day Things I’m Grateful For

Of course I’m thankful for having an apartment to shelter me, a husband who loves me, friends who support me, a job that challenges me, etc. But it’s easy to overlook the small, every day things that make my life better (or easier). I thought it would be a fun project to document 30 simple things that have made me smile in the past month, things I’m grateful/thankful for. What about you – what are you grateful for this month?

  1. Having no more laundry to do… for at least a week
  2. Learning a new word
  3. Eating a ridiculously good meal
  4. Having everything in its place
  5. Getting a nice foot massage
  6. Drinking red wine on a weeknight
  7. Unpacking and organizing the last box from our last move
  8. Going on a good morning run
  9. Having a girls night
  10. Waking up to sunshine
  11. Working from home
  12. Making time for date night
  13. Handwriting notes and to-do lists
  14. Listening to a music
  15. Practicing the piano
  16. Laughing with my friends
  17. Finishing an amazing book
  18. Enjoying a new book
  19. Preparing a nice meal
  20. Planning an trip
  21. Playing a board game
  22. Cuddling on the couch
  23. Texting with my sisters and mom
  24. Getting a Sophie pic
  25. Watching a fantastic new movie
  26. Reading all my saved Feedly articles
  27. Goofing off on Pinterest
  28. Getting a thank you card in the mail
  29. Wearing a pair of flattering jeans
  30. When writing this list, knowing I could look around and be happy about something

Being Grateful For Being You

If you haven’t heard Mary Lambert’s new song yet, give it a listen:

Girl knows how to write a good (and catchy!) tune and this one speaks to those of us who might struggle with self-image issues. Blame the media? Sure, I bet things I’ve seen in movies and magazines have given me slight complexes. Blame kids in school? Definitely, they can be cruel – especially when you’re chubby, wear glasses, and have braces. Blame yourself? YES – embrace who you are, don’t let other people define who you are.

Easier said than done, right? I’m still working on my confidence and sharing who I really am with others… and I’ll be 30 next month. But I’m grateful for who I am – grateful for the life experiences and relationships that have shaped me. In the spirit of sharing and expressing gratitude for being me, here is a list of some of my ‘secrets’ – I don’t care if the world knows them 🙂

  • I have a bossy streak. It was worse when I was younger (my sisters will agree), but I have to fight the urge to control every. single. thing.
  • Dancing makes me happy. But I’m terribly uncoordinated. I still dance though, haters gonna hate.
  • I’m extremely emotional. I don’t think that’s a bad quality to have – it makes me compassionate and empathetic. But I will cry if you look at me cross-eyed.
  • I am a planner. Organizing things gives me this high I cannot describe, how very Type A of me.
  • I fight being jealous of my pretty friends. But it’s my own fault for have such a gorgeous group of girlfriends – lucky me!
  • I love Disney World. Most people know I love Disney, but it’s really focused on Disney World and the films of the late 80s through the 90s. I don’t know much trivia, I don’t idolize Walt, but I will cry when I see Cinderella’s Castle or watch the fireworks show (see third bullet).
  • I’m passive aggressive. To the max. I will talk about the bad service I’m getting from a waitress 0.3 seconds after she’s turned around, loud enough so she can hear me. It’s not the best quality, so I’m trying to fix that bad habit.
  • I really, really love to sing. But I’m timid about singing, like letting it all out, in front of other people. I have a playlist that I only listen to when I want to belt it out during a nice shower when no one is home.
  • I am super competitive. More like dangerously competitive. I’ve been known to break game controllers by throwing them against walls (oops). I also get mad at people when they are better than me. Just a game? Don’t even utter those words in my presence… I’m mostly kidding.
  • I struggle with being overweight. I was always a chubby kid, it’s in my DNA. I wouldn’t say I had a full-fledged eating disorder in high school, but I definitely skipped 75% of my meals when I could get away with it. Right before our wedding, I was over 200 pounds. Yikes. I got focused and dropped the weight – down to a size 10/12 at my lowest (that picture below still blows my mind). I’m up a little again and now fit comfortably into a 14 size jean (still not too shabby), but I’m getting back on track and hope to get down to my goal of 8/10 through eating healthy and exercising more.


November 2014 Edition // Being Grateful

nov-edition-being-gratefulIf you are paying any attention to TV ads or have been into any store lately, you’d think it was Christmas already. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is my favorite holiday season and I will celebrate it to the fullest – starting the day after Thanksgiving.

Even though I’m not celebrating a successful harvest, Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition – it refocuses me on being present in the moment and being grateful for the life I have. It’s easy to be stressed – life is full of little mishaps and big shake-ups that can add negativity… if you let it. Sure you got a flat tire on the way home, but you can be grateful for the fact you don’t have to take the bus every day. Or maybe a close friend passed away, but you can reflect on the time you had together and be grateful for the relationship. Perspective is everything, and it’s something I have to remind myself of every day.

Part of my journey is writing a few days a week here (if I can swing it). It’s not a journal and I am making a conscience effort to keep it positive – not because I want people who stumble upon this space to think I don’t have fights with my friends or get sad… negativity inspires personal growth and I embrace opportunities to make myself a better person. But being grateful every day for the blessings you have can reset your mind to react to situations differently and generally make you a happier person. Who doesn’t want that?

This month I want to explore living gratefully, whether it’s through meditation, volunteering, connecting with friends and family, or celebrating a holiday with good food and great company.

I want to sign off with a TedTalk that has inspired me, and I hope it does the same for you.

Insert Snappy Title Here // HIMMH

Snappy-Title_HIMMHMy husband, Alex, is the best person I know. Which is perfect since I’m going to spend the rest of my days with him. We just celebrated his birthday on Halloween and I thought now was a great time to be mushy and talk about how we first met and why I love him so much.

We met online. Not an uncommon thing in 2014, but our story starts in early 2005 – back when Facebook was a means for college students to connect with each other. He messaged me because we both attended Wayne State University, grew up close to each other, and he thought I was cute (always a bonus). We talked almost every day – he claims he still has some of our old chats saved, but in order to prevent my death from embarrassment I’ve decided to never ask to see them.

When I think back to what drew me to him, I remember all of the late-night conversations we used to have on the phone and how easy he was to talk to. He made me feel comfortable as we were getting to know each other better. He’s sweet and funny and a great friend – someone you want to talk to about your day, what you’re feeling and thinking. Even though we lost touch for a little while, I never stopped thinking about him.

Once we reconnected, I talked about him a lot at work and found out one of my coworkers had gone to high school with him – she convinced me that I should take him up on his offer for a date. We finally met in person in August of 2005. I remember getting myself all dolled up and waiting nervously in the parking lot where we decided to meet. We drove to Detroit for dinner at PizzaPapalis (still one of our favorite places in the city) and I was more shy than I probably should have been. I didn’t talk a lot, only when he asked me questions or I had a couple of my own. I honestly wasn’t sure if he wanted to see me again – maybe I wasn’t outgoing enough for him. But he called the next day, and the next. And by the end of the month we decided to date exclusively.


His smile. It’s like this half-smirk that just melts my heart. I would race from one job to another job to class to his place and know that smile would be greeting me at the door every time. My favorite part of the day was cuddling up and watching a movie or TV show together (something we both still love to do now). When our crazy schedules allowed for it, we’d head to Detroit and hang out with his friends or go to a local karaoke bar with my friends. I knew things were getting serious when we started mixing the two groups.

I remember I told him that I loved him for the first time by accident. It’s not that I didn’t mean it, but it was still pretty early in our relationship. I said it quickly, then just stared at him like “ohgodohgodohgodohgod” until he smiled and hugged me. I didn’t need him to say it back then – I knew he was a thoughtful person and would say it when he felt the time was right. One night at Vito’s in Lincoln Park, after I’d sung a silly song with a few of my girlfriends and was feeling buzzed on lemon drop shots, he told me he was in love with me. (Side note: for my fellow Michiganders, I’m aware at how “Downriver” I sound)

We’ve been together for going on 10 years. We moved from Michigan to Maryland, he went to law school, we got married, we’re excited to start a family. Stories for another edition of this column, I suppose – he’s just so great he deserves multiple chapters! He has helped me become the person I am today – he encourages me to be strong and confident, to challenge myself at work and with my hobbies (like this blog), to learn more about the universe and develop my core beliefs, to be a better friend and partner. And nothing I will ever say or do could express how deeply grateful I am for his presence in my life.

To my handsome, intelligent, thoughtful, sweet, funny, kind, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING partner – thank you for being you.


Fall Activities

You know when you have plans and life goes “Haha, nice try!” right in your face? This month has been a whirlwind – two work trips, a long weekend in Michigan to visit family, Halloween/birthday party planning, with a bad cough/cold in between… Whew! I’m looking forward to a level-set in November, but right now I’m focused on enjoying this last week of October.

While I had planned on doing a few more fall-themed posts this month, I decided to not stress about the missed days and highlight “what could have been” – it will be great to come back to these ideas next year!

Franklin Cider Mill

  • Cider Mills: During our trip to Michigan we were able to visit the Franklin Cider Mill – you haven’t enjoyed a donut until you’ve had one from a cider mill! Warm, cinnamon-y, and delicious! Here’s a link to find a cider mill near you.
  • Apple Orchards: If you’re looking for more than just good cider and donuts, try an apple orchard! You might get lucky and find one with family hayrides, corn mazes, and even an on-site restaurant. You can find one in your state by visiting this website.
  • Pumpkin Carving Party: As a kid, I really hated carving pumpkins. You’d always find me dry-heaving in a corner somewhere, grossed out by the smell and texture of pumpkin innards (gross). I was only a little bit dramatic, I swear. So of all my big ideas, this was the one I was most looking forward to – I want to get over my pumpkin guts phobia… but no one wants to plan/host a party when you’re sick, so I’m putting this on my October 2015 bucket list. Martha has you covered if you still have time to plan one of your own.
  • Fall Picnic: I’m blessed to live in an area full of beautiful parks. Once the leaves start to change next fall, I’m planning an easy menu for a lunch near the lake at Centennial Park.
  • Haunted Houses: Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll make it to a haunted house this season. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, but back in Michigan there were so many fantastic choices… We’ve yet to find a good, local haunt spot. A couple of years ago we visited the Eastern State Penitentiary which was pretty spooky (if you could get over the hundreds of other people who were walking through the halls of the haunted prison).
  • Horror Movies: Luckily, being sick hasn’t prevented us from enjoying some gruesome horror films. I’ve gone from tolerating to actually enjoying most of the horror movies my husband has exposed me to – I prefer more psychological, mind-twisting stories over the standard blood-and-guts variety. One of my recent favorites is “Maniac” with Elijah Wood (super creepy!)… but maybe I’ll muster up the courage to finally watch “Saw” on its 10-year anniversary.
  • Costume Party: Instead of a house party this year, we’re taking our Halloween/Alex’s Birthday celebrations down to Fell’s Point in Baltimore. It’s great for the people-watching and bar-hopping prospects – check out these pictures from just a couple of years ago. I’m pretty excited about my homemade costume this year, I’m sure I’ll share a couple before and after pics on Instagram 🙂

What fun fall activities did you get into this season? And what exciting plans do you have for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!



Fall DIY Project

Fall DIY Project

Everyone loves a good DIY project – especially me! I whipped up this quick canvas project in less than 2 hours with materials I had laying around my apartment (can’t beat that, right?).


  • Canvas
  • Scrap fabric
  • Colored paper (I used orange scraps left over from my wedding crafts, but a mix of orange, red, brown, and yellow would look great, too)
  • Tacky glue
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Binder clips

Since I wanted to reuse my canvas (and because I didn’t plan on hanging it), I folded the fabric around it and secured it with binder clips. You could always secure with heavy-duty glue or staples if you don’t plan on reusing your canvas. This could also work on scrap paper and placed in a frame, too!

Next I drew a variety of leaf shapes on my scrap paper – a quick image search will give you plenty of inspiration. Because I wanted rough, jagged edges on my leaves, I stacked 5-6 sheets under the stencil and cut around my outline.

Once all my leaves were cut, I randomly glued the leaves down to the fabric. I chose this method because I wanted it to have a loose, handmade feel.

Voila! A quick, easy DIY that brought a little fall indoors.

Fall DIY Project Steps

A New Season

turning leaves by misty morning prints Changing your habits is never an easy task, even if those changes are forced upon you. Ask someone who is fighting an illness or disease and has to drastically change their eating habits. It is 100% a mental game. 

How many New Year’s resolutions have you made and not followed through on? Or maybe you’ve committed to cleaning more frequently around your house after a particularly grueling round of spring cleaning… only to fall back in your dust-when-company-is-coming ways just a few short weeks later.

Recently, I looked around my apartment with utter shock at the amount of gidgets, gadgets, knick-knacks, pairs of shoes, you-name-it laying around our 1,000-ish square foot, 1 bedroom/1 den apartment. Shirts I haven’t worn in over a year still hang in my closet. Pots and pans and kitchen tools I probably forgot how to use are taking up limited cabinet space. Books I’ll never read. Bottles of lotion and nail polish.

My initial reaction was annoyance. Look at all the money I had wasted buying (or asking for) things I didn’t need. At the time, the slightly pinkier pink nail polish brought me happiness. Now I just wanted to throw it out – the color didn’t work with my skin tone anyway. I imagined living in a tiny house set in the woods with a finite list of belongings. But then I glanced around at all the items I held onto for sentimental value and realized downsizing that much wasn’t really my style, either.

As I get closer to turning 30, I am making a conscience effort to become the woman I want to be – a checklist of how I want to be in my personal relationships, my career, my everyday life. Not that there’s anything wrong with me now, but I don’t see myself as a woman who watches TV more than reads books (even though at the moment I know more about ‘The Real Housewives’ than Shakespeare). Preparing to become a parent (we’re not really trying, but I know it’s not too far into the future) has also made me look at the choices I’ve made and those I need to make very differently.

#2: Limit TV watching to 1 hour each weekday. #5: Eat clean. #9: Find a signature scent. And now, #12: Edit belongings and change shopping habits. I had added another item to my transformational checklist.

Luckily, two back-to-back work trips prevented me from irrationally throwing out my non-necessities as a quick-solve for #12. As I was walking around in Boston during the beginning of my second event, I had the opportunity to walk through the Boston Public Garden. Although it was well into October, only a few trees had started to turn from green to red or gold – one in particular caught my eye. It was half red and half green. In the middle of its transformation.

Fall is a season of change and I am in a season of change myself. It’s okay that I don’t have it all figured out – I can be partly red and partly green and still okay with my progress. Change isn’t easy but it’s the one part of life that is constant. As long as I keep a positive and realistic outlook on what I am working toward, I think that will help make me the woman I want to be.

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Ashley is one amazing cook – she’s always finding recipes and tweaking to make them better or just coming up with some delicious meals and snacks on her own. Today she’s sharing her recipe for tomato + fennel jam, one of my all-time favorite foods. It’s great as a snack with some burrata or mozzarella cheese, as a topping for meatloaf or chicken, and even as a condiment on a fancy grilled cheese (all of which I’ve tried with much success)!

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

I am NOT a fan of tomatoes, or raw fennel. Licorice, ew. *shivers* However, this past summer, Misty told me about one of her favorite appetizers from a local restaurant. After reluctantly trying it for myself (hey! it came with cheese and bread!), I attempted to create my own tomato and fennel jam. I checked out a few recipes online for inspiration and here’s what I came up with. Enjoy!

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 vidalia onion
1 fennel bulb
4-5 cloves garlic
2 pounds tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
5.5 oz (small can) tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat a large saute pan on medium/high heat with olive oil (or your choice of fat). Slice the onion in to thin rings and add it to pan. You can try other kinds of onion, but I like the sweetness from vidalia. Dice the fennel bulb (not the stems) and add it to the pan with the onion. Add garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Saute 45-60 minutes on low/medium heat, stirring every 8-10 minutes while the onions caramelize. Turn down the heat if it begins to brown too quickly.

While the mixture cooks, cut your tomatoes in to halves or quarters. I did attempt to fire-roast mine since I have a gas stove, but after about finishing 3-4 tomatoes I decided it wasn’t worth my time. I used campari tomatoes. I’m planning to try this with roma and cherry tomatoes next time. Let me know if you try another kind!

Once your mixture has caramelized, add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and tomato juice to the pan. Bring everything to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer until it thickens. This should take 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Voila! You now have an awesome tomato and fennel jam that fills a regular mason jar. Can you believe all of those veggies fit in one jar?

Please share any comments, suggestions, or reviews of this recipe!

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Tomato + Fennel Jam Recipe

Getting Cozy


Part of the reason I think I’m in love with fall is that it encourages people to be homebodies (a term I would definitely use to describe myself, even though I have a packed calendar). The cooler temperatures, but not cool enough to kick the heat on yet, make me want to snuggle up on the couch on a Saturday night, wrapped up in an oversized blanket with a hot mug of something (let’s be real, it’s usually something spiked).

Below are my favorite ways to achieve ultimate coziness. I’d love to hear how you like to celebrate the chilly fall months in the comments below!

Big, fluffy (and preferably heated) blankets. My hubby runs a little warmer than me, so it’s not uncommon for us to run our A/C until mid-October. I have a plethora of quilts, comforters, and blankets on hand, but my favorite is this fluffy heated blanket that was an anniversary gift. It’s perfect because it’s large enough to share and has three heat settings. A Forever Lazy or Cookie Monster pajama pants work just as well, though 😉

Candles. Something about burning a candle all day just makes my heart happy. It’s soothing to me – the soft light, the gentle heat, the scent (of course). I’m a big fan of heavy scents more than fruity ones. Earthy and musky, almost like a luxurious men’s cologne. My favorite right now is Mahogany Teakwood from Bath and Body Works but the fall begs for apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice, so I have a couple of those on-hand, too.

Fuzzy socks. Because I can’t wrap up my heated blanket and walk around my apartment with it, I wear a variety of stylish (okay, maybe not-so-stylish) fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm. Thank goodness we don’t have hardwood floors (my clumsiness would go off the charts!). #Protip – don’t run them through the dryer, they stay super fluffy if you let them air-dry!

Warm drinks. I’m not a big coffee drinker and I hate tea (there, I said it). But I love mulled cider, hot chocolate, and warm fall cocktails. Once again, Pinterest is my go-to for drink recipes like Martha’s mulled cider or the peppermint patty.

Movies. I’m a big fan of movies. Few people aren’t, but I would argue that I watch WAY more movies than most of the people I know. I love talking about them, discussing plot points, actors and their roles, directing choices, cinematography… I consider it a pastime of sorts. Although we go to the theater once a week, to me nothing is better than gathering my blanket, a warm drink, and the people I love to watch a great movie on my comfy couch.

Music. Everyone knows music is an important way to set a mood (try to imagine your favorite movie without the soundtrack). For me, I listen to a lot of Motown, classic R&B, and Blues from October through November (when I start listening to Christmas music nonstop). I don’t know if there’s a reason other than habit, but the smooth sounds with the crackle of older recordings just transport me to a calm, relaxing place.

Stay comfy, my friends!