the thaw.

What do people do when they’re cooped up during an extra-long winter? They come up with tons of good ideas, and then unleash them all at once at the first sign of (finally!!) spring.

This is one of those weeks where you need serious equipment and endurance. A LOT of people have been working hard to put together A LOT of events, for YOU. Including First Friday artists and hosts. And Progressive Party hosts. And MACRoCk crazy people. And Women in Focus organizers. YES — all that and more is descending on our city this week. So pack your tent (just kidding — I don’t think you’re allowed to camp out), your Camelbak, your orthotics, and some Power Bars, because this week’s gonna deplete the heck out of you. In a good way.

Check out what’s Happyning right here!


things are happyning.

This week brings us St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of, uh, spring. And Harrisonburg just wants to celebrate all week from the looks of this line up! Sheesh! Put on your cute spring dress, drape a wool coat over it, and put your flip flops in your purse for when you get there. There’s LOTS to do this week! Check it out here!


As I sit here, the rain is pouring down. Soon it’ll be sleet, then ice, then apparently a whole lot of snow. Yes, I went to the grocery store today. But hardly anyone was there. Hundreds of loaves of bread stuffed the shelves. Not one empty space in the milk cooler. There were a few dents in the beer aisle, but that’s probably normal no matter what the weather. I think collectively the city has declared to Mother Nature, “Eh, who cares,” even though we’re getting every form of precipitation there is in a 12-hour span.

But “precipitation” isn’t just about weather. It also means a sudden acceleration. And when you get a peek at this week’s Happynings, you’re gonna want to put on your boots, shovel out your car, and accelerate on down the street to some awesome events! Have a look for yourself! xoxo!

attention! attention!

I was gonna say that the Happynings this week might look a little skimpy… but they don’t, really. The reason they might look skimpy is because I REMOVED ALLLL THE FOOD AND DRINK SPECIALS that I suspect might no longer be valid. The reason they DON’T actually look skimpy is because Harrisonburg’s so awesome that there’s still plenty to do unrelated to eating and drinking.

So, if you are a bartender/employee/owner of a local restaurant not listed this week, please email me at, or message me through our Facebook page, describe your weekly food/drink special, and I will gladly add it back on. If I’ve never mentioned your event on Happynings, I’m happy to do that, too. It’s a free service, so please send me the info! I’m also working on reconnecting some links that were glitchy/nonfunctioning/generally flicted.

Thanks for helping me get up to speed! Have a super week, and here are your Happynings!

get your act together, Winter.

Does anyone else feel like Nature’s just a wee bit disorganized this winter?
Sheesh. We had that bizarre monsoon last week, followed by a little snow, more rain, wind, rain again, now an “arctic blast” with crack-your-face-in-half wind chills, and later this week it’ll be in the fifties?? Come on!

Meanwhile, my daughter has come down with some horrible virus that doctors can’t identify. I mean, she’s okay… she’s going to be fine… but how much snot can one tiny nose manufacture?? And the fever!! Jeepers!

And because I’m frustrated and need someone to blame, I BLAME THE WEATHER. Get your act together, Winter! Anyway, to help you feel somewhat organized, here’s a list of what’s happening in the Burg this week. Remember, you can email me here ( or send me a FB invitation and I’ll be happy to include your local event on the Happynings page. But you gotta do it by Saturday of the week before your event.

Have a great week, everyone! Stay warm! and then cool. and dry. or whatever — may you be comfortable!

holy cow, it’s almost Christmas.

Today, I’m pooped.

Somehow, in 6 hours yesterday, Michael and I started AND finished our Christmas shopping for five children, AND got all the presents “wrapped.” I use that term loosely, because some of the presents look like wadded up holiday paper you normally see after the gifts have been opened. Oh well. I doubt they’ll notice :)

Have you started your shopping?

Wait, are you one of those people who finished their Christmas shopping before Halloween? If not, don’t worry! You’ve still got plenty of time and plenty of awesome, local businesses with really super gifts. Trust me, I have horrible shopping endurance. If I can get it done on time, anyone can.

So get out there, Harrisonburg, and spend some local bucks. And while you’re out, have a little fun with all the great things happyning this week!

okay, so it’s a little icky.

Okay, so it’s a little icky out there, and maybe your Christmas shopping plans went out the window. I hear ya. I’m a tad behind, too. But maybe today can be one of those spend-time-with-family-get-caught-up-on-laundry-redo-all-my-todo-lists days. And then when this icy stuff clears up, you can hit ground running! Lots happening in the Burg this week!

Check out the Happynings here!

back in the saddle.

I don’t know about you, but I TOTALLY got into vacation mode during Thanksgiving. It seriously JUST occurred to me that I’ll be getting up and heading back to work tomorrow.

But what a lovely Thanksgiving it was. My home was filled with children. I cooked my first turkey (yes, I know, I’m 41), and it was AWESOME. Lots of people told me to use the oven bag, and boy, were they right! A lot of melted butter whisked with white wine didn’t hurt either.

And so now the race is on to Christmas. This week there are lots of holiday-related activities and events to help ease the stress of shopping, including a Christmas concert, an   Alternative Gift Market, and great artwork featured at December’s First Friday. It’s a beautiful time of year to live in our friendly city, in many, many ways. Happy Holidays, everyone! Here’s some information to help you plan your week!


Today’s sermon was, appropriately, about gratitude and its ability to foster generosity. The cycle of being grateful and sharing and being shared with and being grateful. It smacks of karma, an idea that most religions promote, albeit through different lenses and with different words. There must be something to it, huh?

What was very touching about the sermon was this: whatever you can give, it’s enough. Whatever form your giving takes, it’s enough.

This week I’m grateful for the extra six little feet running through my home, for love and kindness, for healthy kids, for a warm house, for a vibrant community that seems to give and give, endlessly.

Happy Thanksgiving!! Here are your weekly Happynings!


chili weather.

This is the time of year I want chili and cider and all sorts of warm and spicy food. I get cold easily, and to stay warm, some days I’m in the bathtub three times. Brandy calls me her “clean friend.” Time to dig out those long johns, flannel pj’s, fuzzy slippers, and Snuggi’s. And if that doesn’t warm you up, our friendly city sure will! Here’s what’s happyning in the burg this week!


Sorry for the lateness of this post. I have a good reason: it’s raining.

Just kidding. Today’s my son’s birthday and we were busy this weekend! Just look at him!

IMG_5037webHope you have a week where your wishes come true and you get some cake! Here are this week’s Happynings!

my beautiful dead tree.

I have at least a hundred trees in my yard, and while I’ll be cursing them loud enough for the neighbors to hear in a few weeks because I’m wading shin-deep in fallen leaves, right now I love them and the golden-orange glow they cast over the whole property.

The prettiest tree I have is a hickory nut tree that sits right outside my large living room window. Right now its leaves are the color of French’s mustard and Buffalo wing sauce, and against the bright blue sky, it’s almost too beautiful to look at.

What makes the tree even more special is that it should be dead. Woodpeckers attacked it long ago, and now squirrels make their home inside the trunk. I can literally see a squirrel enter the tree through a hole at the bottom and then reemerge from a hole twenty feet up. The tree is completely hollow. It should be dead. It could crash on the house any second. Yet, it’s teeming with life, inside and out. Year after year, it continues to leaf out and produce nuts and shower my living room with warmth.

I just wanted to share that.

Take some time this week to gaze at your favorite tree. And here’s the rest of what’s happyning in the burg this week!

fall into happy.

Here we are at the edge of October, already! The weather’s cooling off, and before long, that gorgeous blue sky will stretch across the horizon, dotted by bright, crayon-box leaves. And then raking. Lots and lots of raking. But also football! And evenings around the fire pit! And the anticipation of the holidays :)

Hope you all have a lovely week as we welcome autumn to our fine city. Here’s what’s going on!

Copyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

labor (day) of love.

Happy Labor Day! A day that celebrates the achievements of the American worker… a day to (hopefully!) stay home from work… and a day to hurry up and wear all your white clothes because tomorrow it’ll be too late (fashionably, at least).

It’s also a day to rest up, because next weekend, you’re gonna be SLAMMED. The Burg is jam packed with awesome events, including First Friday, The Rocktown Wine and Dine Festival (I’m praying for lots of bacon that day), the 31st Annual Century Ride at Hillandale Park, and a Rocktown Rollers bout.

Here are all the details of our lovely city’s happynings! Love to you all, and have a great week!

welcome back!

The students are here! The students are here! And once again, I FORGOT that when I went grocery shopping. However… I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get in and out of my local grocery store without a long wait and a big headache. So, welcome back, students! Hope you have a great semester and enjoy all that Harrisonburg has to offer! Here are this week’s Happynings!

getting busy.

Last week went by in a blur… late nights, early mornings, too much junky food, not enough coffee. And this week, Harrisonburg’s population’s going to explode as JMU and EMU students return. (Bridgewater students… probably NEXT week.) When school starts, there’s a new energy in town… summer is ending, fall is approaching, crisp mornings and evenings, bright blue, cloudless skies, football season, Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. And while I’m bummed that my time at home with the kiddos is over, it’s an exciting time for each of us. Bree enters her last year as an elementary school student, I’m teaching a new class this year, and Cal… well, he’s always excited about everything.

May this be an exciting week for you all! Here’s what’s happyning in the burg this week!

sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.

You remember that song? It’s one I sing to my kids frequently… at the first sign of whining or fighting… and sometimes it actually makes them stop.

It’s the week before school starts, and all through the city and county, siblings are bickering like crazy. The other day my kids fought over whether someone said “potty” or “party” for, like, an hour. Well, maybe not that long, but it felt like it, and I actually had to separate them. Of course, once they’re back in school they will miss each other. I remember last year, when Cal started kindergarten, he said something like, “Mom, sometimes during the day I don’t see Bree, and then I think I must be lost.”

May the week bring you sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, and lots of good eats during Taste of Downtown, starting tomorrow. Check out all the week’s events right here, at our Happynings page. See you out and about!


I just got back from a week at the beach with the kiddos. We go every summer. We look forward to it for months, then love it while we’re there, and then mourn it as we drive away. But, there comes a time in every vacation where I long for the comforts of home… my own bed, my own shower, climate control, my city, my neighborhood, a cup of coffee from Shank’s, a chili dog from Jess’, a stroll through the market, crisp mountain air. And all that feels soooo good, but then… I start to miss the sound of the ocean when I wake up, sticky-salty hair, the kids shrieking and jumping into waves, their little upturned faces grimacing as I put more sunscreen on them, sand in my mouth, between my toes, and everywhere in between. Well, until next summer…

Harrisonburg is a fine place to come home to. And here are lots of things to keep us busy and entertained this week! Enjoy! Summer’s ending soon.

slap happy.

This post’s gonna be short because I’m on vacation and have sand in unspeakable places.

It’s another HUGE week in Harrisonburg. We have Fundfest, Fridays on the Square, and First Friday, including the birth of Brandy’s 57-faced baby, ART LOTTO!! I cannot WAIT to see those portraits. If you have no freaking idea what I’m talking about, you can read about last year’s Art Lotto right here!

Enjoy this week’s happynings, right here!

searching for happy.

Every once in a while, I use WordPress’ site stats area to look at the search engine terms viewers have used. There’s no identifying information attached to the terms… I can’t tell who typed what term in that little search box; it’s just a list of things people have Googled and ended up (somehow) at our blog. And it makes me laugh.

Some of them are no brainers:
beers with sun.” Yeah. No duh.

Some of them border on insulting:
simple clothing.” Really! Well, I’m sorry I’m not dressed to impress.

Some of them are just strange, like “spoon.” I’m not sure how that word led to us, but we’re glad it did.

And some of them speak to… well, weird fetishes or something:
chocolate messy eating.”
dolly parton feet.”
long legs granny in short shirts.

Think on those for a while. Oh, and the Happynings are ready! Have a great week, everyone!