tuesday tunes - foster the people.

foster the people is a little indie pop/rock band i've recently started adoring. a lot of their success is attributed to south by southwest festival -- and since i was in austin all weekend, i felt it only appropriate to highlight them today!
best known for their song "pumped up kicks"... but they had a free download of their song "helena beat" last week. and i can't get enough of it.
their debut album torches released last week, too - check out all of the tunes for yourself!!

and here's the band performing "helena beat" on jimmy kimmel...


i love... cake balls!

there have been quite a few food trends over the years (specifically in the dessert category)...
first it was the ice cream-mixing-on-a-slab concept -- which has since been replaced with fro yo (remember my fro yo debate last summer?).
then it was the cupcake boutiques -- and i still can't understand how a store could survive on cupcake sales alone... but it happens. and cupcakes were everywhere - receptions, birthdays, you name it.

well, the newest sweetie (see what i did there?) to hit the scene is CAKE BALLS. and let me tell you... i. am. a. fan. favorites include a red velvet and the oh-so-popular oreo cake ball.
and now they've even added a stick and call them cake POPS! (as seen at starbucks - one of the new "starbucks petites") my fav = birthday cake pop... YUM!
and check out baking blog bakerella for some unique ideas - and a whole book devoted entirely to cake pops!
do you have a favorite cake ball and/or cake pop?


sick of cicadas.

for all of you non-nashvillians, let me fill you in on our current plauge: cicadas have officially taken over our city.
these things are EVERYWHERE... literally there are millions.
and i, for one, am so sick of having dozens splatter against my windshield every time i hit the streets and dodging them while i walk to and from my car. and enjoying the great outdoors? forget about it. not while these guys are ruling the town. while harmless, they are nothing less than annoying (and oh so loud.)

here are some facts you may or may not know about cicadas...
  • ours are actually "periodical" cicadas - emerging every 13 years (technically they are "brood xix") - the last time nashville saw them was 1998. and we won't again until 2024 (hallelujah.)
  • thankfully, they only live for a few weeks (after the females lay about 600 eggs each - yuck.)
  • their one purpose: reproduction. males send out a "mating call" that can reach 100 decibels. y'all. it. is. so. loud. (it sounds like you're living inside a giant rain stick)
we are trying to make the best of our situation here in middle tennessee. there are even humorous tweets over at @nashvillecicada and @TNcicada.

but here's a little video to give you a glimpse into our lives...

{update: this video was filmed yesterday. 6-story wall of cicadas.}


tuesday tunes - miranda lambert.

in honor of traveling to texas this weekend {gonna be my first time to austin - pretty pumped!} -- i thought i'd highlight texas homegirl miranda lambert. this girl got her big break from the tv show nashville star, and has only grown as an artist since.
her latest album (album #3), revolution, has done her really well - with 5 chart-toping singles... and the latest release, "heart like mine", just went #1!

this girl is no stranger to incredible songs. her 2 previous albums included hits "kerosene" (title track from album #1), and "famous in a small town" and "gunpowder and lead" (from album #2- crazy ex-girlfriend)- and she scored some ACM and CMA nominations & trophies as well.

but it's revolution that really won me over. this 15-song album is brilliant, and not a song i don't like. these 2 songs that are tied as my favorites....

1. "the house that built me" - written by the oh-so-talented tom douglas - who i am a HUGE fan of...

2. "heart like mine"...

AND - miranda just got hitched to blake shelton 2 weeks ago. inside sources tell me it was a crazy fun wedding :)


chicago city love.

so i was in charge of showing jeff the way to do atlanta last month.
and this time it was his turn.
we traveled up to chicago this past weekend to visit his family, and snuck away just the two of us on saturday to hangout downtown in the city. here's what jeff planned for us...

brunch at the bongo room.
definitely worth the 45 minute wait. and this picture doesn't even do this justice - it's white chocolate + caramel + pretzel pancakes. oh. my. word. {i love brunch}

from van gogh to monet to picasso, this museum has got it all. wandering through the exhibits was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon in the city.

the bean.
{technically called the cloud gate.}
for photo-happy people like myself, this is the best thing ever because you can take your own photos! though we couldn't get amazing skylines because of the rain clouds, i do love the effect left from the rain.

afternoon coffee at intelligentsia.
jeff had been talking up this place, and he was right on. no cream or sugar needed, this coffee is so smooth and perfect. {watch their video to learn more about their unique brewing process}

giordano's for dinner.
after a quick stop at h&m on michigan avenue {aka the magnificent mile} - we hit up jeff's favorite chicago pizza place. known for the famous stuffed pizza, we left pretty stuffed ourselves. mmmmmmmm.

then we took the train back up north to the suburbs (side note: i LOVE using the train + subway in big cities!!) it was a pretty fantastic day.

the rain ruined our sunday excursion to wrigley field to cheer on the cubs, but we did decide to keep on our matching shirts all day...

i'm sure we'll be visiting chicago again soon... anything you'd recommend??


life lately (in photos).

here's a snapshot (get it?) into life lately...

a quatro de mayo party (the day before cinco de mayo of course)...

nashville pedal tavern for lyndsay's birthday. hilarity on wheels.

our old co-worker christine came to visit nashville and we all got to meet sweet baby luci belle! she's very excited about this pickle from our lunch at burger up.

a photo shoot for a little project i'm working on with fashionABLE involving weddings + scarves... my friends were the best models!

while my boss was out of town, i had the honor of picking up his daughter, howie, from school one day. i felt very soccer-mom-ish, but love any moments i get with this girl...

beautiful hydrangeas "just because" + a home-cooked meal for me and the boy...
{whole wheat gnocchi/chicken/zucchini in vodka sauce + a great bottle of malbec}

{up next: my weekend in the windy city...}


machu picchu!

so i'm heading down to peru later this summer with a couple of girlfriends to hike the inca trail & visit machu picchu - something that has been on my "i want to do this before i die" list for the past few years. needless to say,
i. am. pumped.

i had planned the trip for july, completely clueless that it marks the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of the ruins. the la times are actually posting 100 facts for 100 years of machu picchu... posting one each day for the next 100 days (today is actually fact #34). so now i am even more stoked for our peruvian adventure!

we're booked through perutreks.com and have started "training" in nashville - hiking around our parks and trails, breaking in our boots. and i have a wish list going on over at rei- things like a head lamp and cute day pack - you know, the important stuff.

have you ever gone on a multi-day hike? any tips or special gear you'd suggest? we leave in just a little over 2 months!


summer jams.

here's my current top 10 as we head into summer...
(ps i've recently become re-acquainted with making mix cd's - anybody else?)


tuesday tunes - hey mama (mat kearney).

we all know i love me some mat.
and he's been slaving away in the studio for this next album, young love (out later this year), which i am super excited about.
the first single, "hey mama" has been getting some repeat playtime in my itunes...


tuesday tunes - jeremy lister.

so i told you about street corner symphony a few months back. well, now frontman jeremy lister has come out with his own full-length album, the bed you made. and you guys - it. is. so. good.

this album was five-years-in-the-making and contains some pretty emotionally intense pop/rock songs. {bluegrass friend alison krauss makes an appearance on three of them!} jeremy has had a roller coaster of a career these past few years, starting with a signing to warner brothers records back in 2006, and an eventual parting of ways in 2009 when they refused to release a follow-up to his ep. then came the sing-off last season (and the exposure it brought), to now being in control of his own music and own release with this record.

and i'd say it has paid-off. this is an album you want to own and play on repeat. {you can preview all the songs on itunes...}

here's one of my favorites, "gravity"...


pioneer woman.

if you are female and read blogs at all, you have probably heard of the pioneer woman - a blog about a spoiled city girl turned domestic country wife. best known for her amazing recipes, she is definitely an inspiration in the kitchen.

jeff and i were invited over to his good friends the wilsons for our own little cinco de mayo fiesta last night. and becca channeled her inner pioneer woman. our menu included:

{photos all courtesy of pioneer woman - but i promise becca's looked (and tasted!) this good...}

{made with ground turkey instead of beef}
needless to say we were well-fed and well-loved last night.

have you tried any of her recipes i should know about?


tuesday tunes - augustana.

you're probably familiar with augustana's singles from their last albums.. "boston" and "stars & boulevards" (from all the stars and boulevards - 2005, then re-released in 2006) and "sweet & low" (from can't love, can't hurt - 2008)

but i hadn't heard anything from these california guys for awhile. then, with their new album (technically album #4) out this spring, twitter was all abuzz with everybody loving this thing. so i decided to buy it. and let's just say, i have not been disappointed. self-titled, augustana is a a winner. i'm a big fan of every song, and enjoy listening to it all the way through (not always the case these days!)

see for yourself. here's the first single, "steal your heart"....


recipe: homemade pizzas!

one of my favorite things to make these days are homemade pizzas. pizza is such a comfort food, but i hate the guilty feeling i get after eating a greasy slice from a restaurant. when you make them yourself, you know exactly what ingredients you are (and aren't!) using - equaling enjoyment without the guilt :)

i had some girls over last night and made 2 different pizzas:
pesto/sundried tomato/spinach
(with lite shredded mozzarella cheese)
(with a little agave drizzle)

for both, i used the 99¢ whole-wheat dough from trader joe's (duh.)

the secret is lightly brushing the dough with olive oil & pre-cooking it for about 5 minutes before you add your toppings.

finished products!



it's hard to believe that exactly 4 years ago today i closed on my condo and moved to nashville.

4 years of trials + triumphs.
4 years of heartbreak + healing.
4 years of gain + loss.
4 years of making nashville my home.

on one hand it feels like yesterday that i was loading up the penske truck to drive north, picking out paint colors, and owning my first set of keys.
but on the other, it feels like i've been here forever, and is honestly a little hard to picture life pre-nashville. don't get me wrong - i had 25 full years before i moved here... but this place has shaped me more than any other.

4 years of chasing my dreams.
4 years of living life to the fullest.
4 years of discovering who i really am.
4 years of growing up.