February 28, 2013

that time my favorite festival came calling.

I love Newport. You know that. I know that. Let's be honest...I'll tell anyone who will listen all about it's wonder. That probably means I've told you. 


So my heart swelled when the Folk reached out to me after reading this post

They were looking for folks who share their love of the festival to help them introduce the 2013 lineup. 

And they asked me.

photo from npr.org 

Hey Marseilles is a band I've known about for a while. They are a perfect fit for Newport's summery, folky sound. Knowing that they will be there makes it even harder to know that I won't. 

But, I'm there in spirit. 

And I'm so very proud to help announce that they'll be taking the Newport stage this year. 

Read my introduction here

And let's be honest...a band that makes something like this is probably a band I'm going to fall in love with. 

folk on. 


February 26, 2013

oscar schmoscar.

Award shows are best watched with snacks, food, great friends a little bit of harmless judgement. This year I invited a few friends over to watch the Oscars and provide sassy commentary on awkward outfits, wordy speeches and everything in between. 

It was a lot of fun! 

I made sandwich cookies, picked up some snacky food at Trader Joe's, printed out some ballots, tossed on my brightest ban.do pouf, and called it good. 

We laughed, we cried, we let out a collective gasp of horror when Jennifer Lawrence tripped. 

Nights like that with good people are what I live for. 



February 25, 2013

places I love (welcome diner).

Whenever my little sister comes home to visit from Hawaii, I quickly (and greedily) bogart all her free time and make lengthy lists of new Phoenix places we need to explore.

This weekend was no different, and we finally got to check out Welcome Diner. A quick walk from my house, the Diner is a quirky little joint with an interesting history. Says the website

"The Welcome Diner is located on Roosevelt Street in the Garfield neighborhood of downtown Phoenix. It is a 9-stool Valentine Diner  that was built in 1945 in Wichita, KS. It was later moved in 1955 to Williams, AZ, where it operated on Route 66 for 25 years. In 1980 the Diner was moved to it's current location on Roosevelt, though it remained vacant until opening in 2004." 

Fast forward to 2013. The Diner has only been open for special events for the last few years, until late January when the owners partnered with Old Dixie's Southern Kitchen, a Phoenix food truck, to open the doors again. With a fresh coat of paint, lots of grassy area with new outdoor seating, cold beer on tap and fun, friendly staff, good things were bound to happen. 

Old Dixie's knows how it's done, and the super creative folks behind the grill make some epic food. The special when we were there was a buffalo chicken and bacon sandwich on a biscuit (no really), and it did not disappoint. The fries were salty and crispy (just the way we like them) and my red plastic cup of frothy, ice cold Four Peaks Sunbru sealed the deal and made me so happy I never wanted to leave. 

The folks that work the counter are some of the friendliest I've met, and chatting with them made the meal that much more enjoyable. 

Right now, the Diner is only open on weekends for dinner from 5-10pm and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10-3pm. Rumor has it the hope is to expand their hours, so keep an eye out. Either way, it's something every Phoenician (and their friends!) needs to check out. 


February 24, 2013

book clubs & salads.

This week I hosted my first book club. That's a big deal. I've been in a book club with some wonderful ladies for a couple of years, and have never been able to have them over. Now that I've got a place of my own, I was beyond excited to have them come see it! 

The book (Flight Behavior) was amazing, and I made a light, airy Asian salad to go with it. It's one of my favorite recipes (I think there was a week over the holidays where my sister and I made it every.single.day). It can be time consuming (or you can cheat and buy the pre-shredded ingredients), but it's worth it! YUM! 

The recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs, Dinner: A Love Story

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce 
lime juice from half a lime
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 drop of hot pepper paste (I just use a little hot sauce) 
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 to 3 large handfuls of shredded cabbage (both Savoy and Red)
half a handful of shredded baby spinach
1 handful of shredded carrots
1 bunch (about 5-6) scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 chicken breasts (poached/simmered for 15 minutes in a pot filled with 3 cups of water, a 1/4 cup rice wine, a little soy sauce, a half an onion) shredded (when I'm low on time, I just buy a trusty rotisserie chicken and shred the white meat!)
handful of chopped peanuts to taste
sesame seeds 
In a large bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients. To the same bowl, add all salad ingredients and toss until combined. 

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February 21, 2013

music I love (npr tiny desk concert series).

I love discovering new bands. Or old bands for that matter. Really, I just love music. And bands. 

Few people have a variety as wide as NPR's music department. Their Tiny Desk Concert Series is one of my favorite ways to find new music. 

Bands from all different genres visit the studio and cram themselves and their instruments into the NPR music office for a great live jam. 

They've had musicians like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

And a band I am head over heels in love with, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

And some of my other favorites, like Brandi Carlile, Passion Pit, Grouplove, or Wilco

Or the sweet Civil Wars

Or our queen, Adele

Once they even fit all 17 members of The Polyphonic Spree in the room (clown car style) for a Christmas session. 

The archives go back so far that you could spend forever watching great bands performing great music. 

On a rainy day, or a quiet afternoon or when you're in need of something new, cozy up to your laptop and explore the Tiny Desk Concerts. 

Something new and wonderful is guaranteed. 

Spirit Family Reunion. 

First Aid Kit. 

February 20, 2013

food I love (brussels sprouts).

You guys. This salad might be one of my favorite things to eat. I make it at least twice a week. And then I make it again. I tell my friends. I tell strangers. It's super easy, delicious and different enough from your typical salad to feel special. Trust me. Make it. 

First, chop up some raw brussels sprouts. I usually end up using about 8-10 of them, but it depends on the size. 

Toast a handful of raw pine nuts. I usually throw them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Slice up some really great parmigiano reggiano cheese.  

Grind some flaky sea salt. 

Toss it all together with some extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!

(sorry for the crappy final photo! I ate all of mine last night before I remembered to take one...so you'll have to settle for an instagram from a while back)


February 18, 2013

shops I love (etsy).

There are a few things in life I willingly spend all my hard earned cash on. One of them is a craft-tastic labyrinth filled with great treasures better known as etsy. 

You could easily spend hours searching for any number of amazing prints, knick knacks, accessories, and jewels. You find one shop you love, which leads to another, and another, and...you get the idea. Pretty soon it's midnight, you haven't looked up from your laptop in four hours and you've got a crazed look in your eye. 

I know I've been there. You likely have too. 

In an effort to make it a little less overwhelming, here are five of my favorite shops on one of my FAVORITE websites. 


I have this little print hanging in my living room, and I love it. There's LOTS more where it came from too. 


I have this print as well as a couple of little notebooks, and I take them everywhere. 


I bought a letter bracelet for myself and one of my best friends for Christmas from this shop based out of Parma, Italy, and now I wear mine every day. 


I love these spoons. LOVE. Nicole Porter makes bright, vibrant textiles and kitchen accessories, and I would buy one of everything if I could! 


I found this custom stamp shop when I was looking for a housewarming gift, and it has quickly become my go-to. I even gifted myself one when I bought my first place. :) 

To see ALL of my favorite items and shops, checkout my etsy profile

Go. Spend an afternoon etsy exploring. Support a small business. Get something fun in the mail. Or send something fun to a friend! 


February 14, 2013

treats I love (chocolate sandwich cookies).

My mixer has been eyeing me from it's corner of the kitchen for a month now. 

With a little office party looming in the distance, I decided to try it out with these super sweet treats (thanks Martha!). 

Mine aren't heart shaped (good luck finding anything useful and Valentine's Day themed the night before the big day), so circles had to do, but they turned out crisp and sweet and delicious! 

What you need! 
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • cream filling (see below)
What you do!  
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together butter, sugar, and egg. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and stir until a dough forms. Divide dough in half; roll out each half between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to baking sheets, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut out shapes, making sure you have even numbers in each size, rerolling scraps once. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. 
Bake until firm and fragrant, about 8 minutes for 1-inch cookies, 10 minutes for 1 1/2-inch cookies, and 12 minutes for 2-inch cookies, rotating halfway through. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks. Spread filling onto bottom side of half the cookies, and sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently. 
for the cream filling:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I always ending up using more than this...play around with it until you get the consistency you want!) 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk, if needed
Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add sugars, beating until thoroughly combined. Beat in vanilla. If filling is too thick to spread, beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable.



February 12, 2013

websites I love (soulpancake).

(photo from book.soulpancake.com

I know, I know. It's hard to trust anything coming from the guy who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office

When Rainn Wilson isn't an eccentric beet farmer, he's working on his second love, SoulPancake

In 2010, Rainn set out on a quest to get people thinking about the world's "big questions" and published SoulPancake the book. 

What is one thing you learned that blew your mind? 
What do you do to find calm in a chaotic world? 
How has your sense of right and wrong evolved? 

Fast forward, and SoulPancake is now a workbook, a website, and a mantra:

"Our brain batter of art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality and humor is designed to open your mind, challenge your friends, and feel damn good." 

I think that's pretty cool. 

Check it out. It's all about challenging your outlook, being exposed to new ideas, and celebrating quirky humor. 

It's fun! I promise. And SoulPancake has a pretty epic video series that includes great things like this guy: 

And stuff like this: 

Take a few minutes. Look around. Think about some big questions. Enjoy! 


February 11, 2013

places I love (salvation mountain).

I love a quick stop in a strange place. There are few as magic and strange as a rainbow-colored pile of throw aways and cement in the middle of Slab City in the California desert. 

We chose the hottest day of the hottest month of the year to visit Leonard Knight's mountain. 

We had read about the eccentric old man who had been living at his mountain and lovingly caring for it for longer than I had been alive. 

It felt like the road would never end. 

The desert so hot it glistened in the sun. 

We rounded a corner and saw Leonard's mountain in the distance. 

With no expectations, we crept out of the car. 

The desert was so quiet it was deafening. 

The only visitors, we apprehensively wandered around in silence, taking it in. 

After about half an hour, we heard a little noise, and found Leonard in a corner with a paint brush and a smile. 

He welcomed us with open arms, took us out to his truck, and shared stories with us about his special place. 

In the years since my first visit to the mountain, it has been an uphill battle for Leonard. Health issues have threatened the place that he loves and pours himself into.  

It's weird. 

It's bright. 

It's full of magic. 

The mountain doesn't ask for much.

Leonard doesn't ask for much. 

On our visit, we asked how we could help, and he just asked that we tell people about his home. About his message. 

But now, Leonard has had to leave his home (he's over 80!), and without him, the mountain needs it's friends to ensure the magic endures. 

They need volunteers. 

They need people who love the quirky parts of the world that make it so special. 

If you're up for an adventure, take a visit to the mountain. Pick up a paint brush and help out. 

It's the kind of adventure that doesn't happen enough, and you'll always wish it did. 



February 5, 2013

places I love more than most (newport folk fest).

Of Monsters and Men. 

Last spring, with a fistful of Hilton points and a free flight voucher, my sister and I were looking for adventure. On a whim we bought tickets to a music festival I hadn't heard of on the other side of the country. And I fell in love. 

When the rain started pouring during Jackson Browne's set on Sunday and I knew the end was near, my heart broke. It physically hurt to board the plane and fly away. I told a friend of mine that I had found my people. And I had. 

I love live music. Just about any kind. Put it outside, even better. And I have never loved it more than I did at Newport. 

There were a handful of bands I had heard of, but most I hadn't. Tucked away in the hidden stages of the Fort, I found my soul in bands I barely new. 

I found it when Nick Panken from Spirit Family Reunion told the crowd to sing "out over the harbor...loud and hard from the bottom of our souls". 

When Stephen Weinheimer made beautiful music with some forks and a washboard. 

When I looked to my left during My Morning Jacket to find half of The Apache Relay standing next to me happily bobbing along with the crowd. 

When Ben Sollee and his feisty cello popped up on every.single.stage that whole weekend. 

When I sang along to "Emmylou" with First Aid Kit in the rain. 

When a long-time dream was realized and I got to witness Brittany Howard and that epic mouth of hers belt out "I Ain't the Same". 

When I got to marvel in the quiet music of the Tunnel Sessions. 

When I watched Jonah Tolchin busk barefoot in the grass. 

When the Tallest Man on Earth performed a no-frills show that rocked it. 

When it didn't matter if you were an artist, a fan, a hipster 20-something or a guy who'd been coming for 50+ years. We were all there together. In it together. Hearing music that pulled us in. Together. 

Folk music can be a number of things. As the years have gone by, I hear that the bands at the festival have evolved to include some newer renditions of folk. At the end of the day, to me, folk music is a sound that speaks to you. That is timeless and enduring and at the same time fresh. 

That is in your soul. 

That keeps you coming back. 

(all photos by me)
 Spirit Family Reunion. 
 Spirit Family Reunion. 
 Spirit Family Reunion. 
 Blind Pilot. 
 My Morning Jacket. 
 The Apache Relay. 
 The Tallest Man on Earth.
 Jonah Tolchin. 

 Spirit Family Reunion. 
 Of Monsters and Men.
 Alabama Shakes. 
 The Apache Relay. 

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