Monday, June 28, 2010

Music to My Ears

Last week, Eric and I saw Hacienda open for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at WorkPlay. Grace has long legs and a killer voice and is definitely worth checking out. But don't be fooled. We were there for Hacienda.

Hacienda - Big Red & Barbacoa
Hacienda is made up of three brothers and their cousin from San Antonio. Their sound is 50's-inspired rock and roll with a Texas twist. Below is a video of one of my favorites. Enjoy!

She's Got a Hold on Me - Hacienda, Big Red & Barbacoa

We first saw these guys when they played alongside Dan Auerbach as four of The Fast Five in Nashville (smoky stage and bandanna face mask included).
The second time around, they did not disappoint. Eric says their tone is amazing and I say their vocal harmonies are perfectly blended. On stage, they feel the music as they move, picking up their legs and grooving with the sounds. Dante (the guitarist) says they've tried to hold still when they play, but then they think too much and it doesn't come out right.
We stood right up front and got a chance to meet Dante before the show. That led to he and Eric talking gear afterwards and eventually him hanging out with us for almost the entirety of Grace Potter's set. He's an incredibly nice guy and a pleasure to talk to. We can't wait for them to visit the SE again!
Tell me, what do you think of this album? Will you go see them in concert? Please do!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stained Glass

I stumbled upon these beauties a few weeks ago on Design Sponge and The Little Red House, respectively. They have continued to stand out in my mind so I thought I would share and save them here.

I like the color, the simplicity and the sunlight. I like how it's unexpected and charming. I don't know how this translates into inspiration for our apartment but, nonetheless, I like it.

What random pictures are liking you lately?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Love for Etsy

Tonight: baseball, good friends and ice cream. Fun! This Etsy post is inspired by that sweet relief from heat in all of it's vintage glory. Enjoy!

How are you staying cool this weekend?


Good morning! I had a few requests for our aforementioned salsa recipe. It's an authentic Mexican recipe made with a "little of this, a lot of that" and I love it. My mom made it growing up and, now, Eric makes it like a champ. And when it comes to salsa, we both eat it like champs.

A few nights ago, we tried out a new recipe; one I could follow because it had specific measurements. It's more of a Tex-Mex version and comes from Liesl's Confection Dissection.

Today, I'm going to share both! That way, if you're a creative cook like Eric or a recipe follower like me, there's a salsa for you. If you prefer the warm flavor of authentic Mexican or the fresh lime of Tex-Mex, there' s a salsa for you, too. Enjoy!

Authentic Mexican Salsa
10-12 roma tomatoes
3-5 jalapenos, seeded
minced garlic
lemon juice
cumin (lots of it!)
tomato sauce, as needed

Call husband into kitchen and ask him nicely to do the following.
Start with 10 roma tomatoes and 3 jalapenos. Combine and finely pulse in food processor. Add garlic, cilantro, diced onion, lemon juice, salt and cumin to your preferred taste. Adjust heat, thickness or thinness with extra tomatoes, jalapenos and tomato sauce.
Eat up, brag on his skills in the kitchen and forget to take a picture.

Tex-Mex Salsa
10-12 fresh garden tomatoes (3-5 set aside, seeds removed)
1 jalapeno, seeded
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt

Tell husband to continue playing his guitar while you whip up a nice snack.
Combine jalapeno and onion in the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Set aside in large bowl. Cut 7-9 tomatoes into large chunks, add to the food processor and pulse several times. Add to bowl. Seed the remaining tomatoes, cut into bite-size chunks and add to bowl. Add garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Stir to combine.
Break out the chips, invite husband to do a taste-test and snap a quick picture.

What's your favorite salsa recipe? If you try one of these, let me know how it turns out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Great Wide Open

This picture makes me want to go exploring. And hang streamers outdoors.
In December of 2007, I was a college graduate, working full-time and living in an apartment surrounded by trees at the base of Signal Mountain. My sweet boyfriend (now husband) lived a few minutes down the road and was quite the adventurer. Chattanooga was the place. We ran trails, we rode bikes, we hiked, we creeked, he climbed (I watched, tried it out, sometimes even made it to the top). We explored.

Back to December 2007. Eric and his friends were planning a backpacking trip to North Carolina. Word reached me that one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine, would be going along. I was giddy! Adventure, exploration, showing my boyfriend that I am super cool and tough - sign me up!

I mentioned the idea to Eric. He looked at me with knowing eyes and said, "I don't think you'll like it". I thought I would love it. And the debate continued even as we loaded backpacks into the truck. Hours later, my toes were falling off. That one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine? Peacefully asleep next to me. Uh oh.

Bright and early the next morning, our journey began at the base of the Nantahala River and traveled 17 miles up and down (mostly up) the North Carolina mountains. 17 miles. That one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine, had no problem keeping up with the pack. Me? I fell way behind.

Eric stayed back with me. I cried, a lot. He encouraged me and lightened the mood. We ate freeze-dried pasta, beans and cheesecake out of a plastic pouch and it was wonderful. I rested, a lot. The sun made it's way from behind us to in front of us and disappeared. My headlight went dim and Eric traded with me. We sang and laughed and talked about goals. I ached, a lot.

It was an ungodly hour when we reached our destination. The next morning, Eric and I skipped out on the final leg of the trip and hiked 6 miles to the road. We waited all day for our friends to pick us up. It was the second best day I'd had in a while. The best day? 17 miles up and down (mostly up) the North Carolina mountains with my sweet boyfriend (now husband).

Gosh, I want to go exploring soon. How about you?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let Down Your Hair

It's hot outside, my hair is long and limp, and I'm sleepy in the mornings.
Enter: the dreaded ponytail.
Okay, so I'm not exactly rocking the side ponytail these days, but Deb's face really shows how I feel about the current state of my 'do. Luckily, my sister, Alex, is a fabulous hair stylist at N Vogue in Vestavia Hills. I've picked out a few styles I like, but I need your opinion!

Here is a (somewhat) recent picture of me and my hair.
The lovely Zooey with long hair and side-swept bangs of varying degrees.
Three medium length styles, also with side-swept bangs.
Rocker chick bob on the left, minus the scary frizz.
What do you think?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pizza Contest

This weekend, our family of ten divided up into teams for a pizza contest. See the full breakdown on Work Brake, the blog of my sister, brother and his girlfriend (from where I swiped the pictures below).

The Pizzas:
Spicy Pizza by Ben N. and Hope
- pepper jack cheese, pepperoni and bell peppers
Classic Pizza by De and Madi
- parmesan tomato sauce, pepperoni and Italian cheese
Mexican Pizza by Ben S. and Alex
- marinated chicken, salsa, bell peppers and Mexican cheese
Mediterranean Pizza by Eric and I
- fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes and pesto
Fruit Pizza (not pictured) by Dad and Mom
- sugar cookie, cream cheese and an assortment of fruit

The Winner:
Spicy Pizza by Ben N. and Hope

Seriously... these were all scrumptious - and SO different from each other! What is your favorite pizza ingredient combination?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Love for Etsy

Yay for Friday! Want to be a world traveler? Enjoy!

Where do you want to go?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Neglected Room

Remember when you were 13, and your bedroom served as your own little house? It was uniquely you - in color, style and cleanliness (or lack thereof). And so, you treasured it.

Then, you got your first place and you discovered that the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room were now all uniquely you. And you got busy decorating those rooms! Along the way, your bedroom got neglected. The bed was not made (gasp!), clothes draped the dresser and the door was shut when guests came over.

Then, THEN, you got married. You hung a framed concert poster in the hallway and your flower canvas over the fireplace. You had a room dedicated to guitars and climbing gear and crafts and wrapping paper. You put out pictures of your family and artwork of a mountain. You decorated with bottles and vases and made room on the TV stand for a record player. You realized that your place looked pretty snazzy and you sat back with your honey to enjoy it all.

But you forgot - the bedroom. Do yourself a favor. Spruce it up. Make it snazzy like the rest of your house because it represents you as a couple. Make it cozy and relaxing. Make the bed (oh geez!).

I'd love to do just that. And here's some of my inspiration.

The simplicity, the dark gray throw, the pop of color in one pillow and modern design on the other, the light gray headboard, the flowers and books on the nightstand
The large tree picture (for above our bed)
The yellow and blue pillows next to a neutral fabric, the eclectic artwork
The industrial lamp on the bedside table
(**note: unfortunately, I saved these pictures in my email without reference to where I found them. If you know, please tell me so I can link appropriately! Thank you! )

So tell me, what room do you neglect? And what are your latest room re-do inspirations?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eating on a Budget

It's official. We've embraced our Dave Ramsey lessons and now have a cash envelope for food. We have not eaten out for breakfast lunch or dinner since last Thursday (confession - a girl at work treated me to Subway for lunch one day, but that doesn't count, right?). This is HUGE and it's been tough. But mostly, I'm really enjoying it.

Here's what I've learned so far:

1. Plan ahead: I decided what meals we would be eating throughout the week, made a detailed ingredient list and attacked Publix with purpose. No excuses that we didn't have enough food at the house and no purchasing things that were not on the list.

2. Eat well: Not just healthy (although this is important). Enjoy what you eat! It makes is so much easier to eat at home if you feel satisfied with your meal.

3. It's cheap and fun to make it yourself: I am a salsa snob. Blame my mom. Blame my favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. I just can't eat salsa from a jar. Yuck! I bought fresh ingredients to have homemade salsa and homemade black bean dip in the 'fridge ready for a snack. Ours taste way better and is much more cost effective than buying it pre-made. Eric is GREAT at throwing together "a little of this, a lot of that" types of food. Also, I enjoy baking. I'm constantly on the search for a new cookie recipe. I love to bake a tray of cookies and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for later. Emergency chocolate craving? No problem.

4. Eat out, just be smart about it: Let's be honest. Sometimes, I don't want to mess up my kitchen. I don't want to slice, mix, preheat... I just want someone else to do it for me. No worries! There are ways to cut the bill here, too. For starters, we almost always order water. I love water and it's about all I drink. And guess what? It's free! Two sodas can add nearly $4 to your meal - yikes! When we eat Mexican food (when do we not?!), I almost always order a la carte. Eric eats his rice and gives me most of his beans and we are set! Also, if you are eating somewhere that serves bread with soup or salad (like our favorite Italian spot, Joe's), your meal can be a little lighter or you can share with someone (Although, don't let Eric fool you - he's a fit guy but he can really put it away at the dinner table. No sharing for us). If you can't share,leftovers become lunch.

5. Start building your kitchen staples list: We love flavorful food and fresh ingredients. I'm slowly learning to balance our kitchen and pantry so that we can make a meal at a moment's notice. Here's my list so far - peanut butter, honey, flour, sugar (brown and white), olive oil, chocolate, variety of cheeses, pesto, pasta noodles, frozen chicken, ground turkey, frozen corn, canned beans, canned diced jalapenos, canned diced tomatoes, chips, grainy bread (in the freezer), pizza crust, lemon juice, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, fresh bell peppers.

6. Check, Check, Check your kitchen first: If you saw my Mema's pantry, you would think she is still preparing for Y2K. Not so. She just buys stuff she already has. Although I'm not ready for a nation-wide emergency, I am guilty of purchasing food I have in my pantry simply because I didn't look first. Now, when I make my grocery list, I check my kitchen and cross off anything I already have. This seems like a simple, common-sense step, but it's an easy one to skip out on.

7. Be willing to adapt: Every meal wasn't amazing and I'm still learning. Next time, I'll include Eric more in the grocery list making - he helped me discover that eggs are incredibly cheap and useful. I'll continue searching for new recipes and advice. Keep what works, toss what doesn't. Be flexible.

Who knows? Maybe all of that cooking together and saving money will inspire spontaneous dancing in the kitchen. What have you learned about eating well, eating out, eating in and eating cheap?

{Images via Corbis Images and Cup of Jo}

Monday, June 7, 2010

Run Like a Girl

Isn't subtlety wonderful? Below is a conversation I had with my husband yesterday about a couple we go to church with.

Him: "I was talking with Barrett today"
Me: "Oh cool"
Him: "He said Bethany runs a lot"
Me: "Yeah, I know"
Him: "You should become better friends with Bethany"

He he. How ironic then, that I would be standing in the near vicinity of said Bethany last night as she and a few other girls made plans to run together one night this week. There I am, minding my own business (eating a bowl of Oreo ice cream) when all of the sudden I am invited along for the run. Coincidence?! Okay, yes.

All joking aside, I'm really looking forward to our run tomorrow night. I can' t promise I'll be fast. And I can't promise I'll go the distance. But I'm going to give it my best and build some "better friendships" along the way.
{via Run Along}
And you know what? I love it when exercise is fun. For the past two nights, Eric and I have displayed some mad skills on the tennis courts. We break a sweat, laugh a lot and we think we're getting pretty good.

How do you get motivated to stay in shape or lose weight?
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