Friday, July 29, 2016

Concert Tips

I am by no means an expert on going to concerts but I do have some great tips to share. We counted last night and Ryan and I have seen about 62 concerts this year so I do for sure have some experience with attending concerts successfully.

1. Dress comfortably. 
What time of the year and time of day are you going to this concert? Is it indoors? Will you be in a pit situation or sitting in chair rocking back and forth?
I know this seems like a ton of questions but they are things that are going to determine what you should wear.  Long gone are the days of trying to look super cute. Most of the time I am going to sweat from dancing. I want my hair up and comfortable shoes to dance in. Trust me your feet and body will thank you for not wearing those 6 inch heels.

2. Bring cash. Your going to want to get at least a water at the place you are going to. If not water maybe you want to get something to eat. Most places I go to do not have the option to open a tab. Cash only! Always remember most artists only make money off of their merchandise. Buy a shirt.

3.  Arrive Early.
Always plan to get there early. At least a half hour if you can manage. You want to be able to get a drink and locate a good location. I hate nothing more than finding my spot to have a buncha people trying to squeeze in by me when the music starts. Please don't be that guy.

4. Always show up for the opener.
 Show up trust me sometimes the opening bands are better than the main band. I have had this happen at least  twice this year when I show up excited for the main act and the opening band rocked my face off. Just do it.

Notice the guy in the shades? That is my husband Ryan!
5. Have fun!
People are going to push into you. They are going to be drunk. It maybe hard to hear. The stage may break. The venue may suck. Let it all go and get into the music. It is the best release of my troubles I can experience. Sometimes I close my eyes and zone into it.

You never know what you are missing out in this world till you go explore it. Get out there and experience some music people!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quinoa Salad

Sometimes you need filling salad for lunches all week. This salad packed full of healthy veggies will be what you need to full you all week. I just whipped this together Sunday and thought I needed to share because it is  tasty. Warm or cold you can eat it.

What you need~
1 cup of sliced kalamata olives
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet peppers
1 cup green peppers
1 cup chopped mozzarella
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup quinoa

Using the food processor or blender you want to blend up the cauliflower. Once
completed put in a pan with 1/2 cup water to cook on medium heat. While this is going on cook your quinoa according to directions in a stock pot (usually cook for 10-15 minutes with 2 cups of water for each cup of quinoa). Season the cauliflower "rice" as it cooks. I used cumin liberally.

Chop up all your veggies and the cheese and put into a bowl.

I try my best to make my own dressings when I can. I used .5 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tahini, and to taste the rest in the picture.

Pictured (left to right):
Olive oil
Curry powder
Sriracha (hot sauce)
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Garam masala
Everglades seasoning

If you do not want to make your own dressing the salad dressing aisle has some great options.Make sure you whisk your dressing so you have  no clumps.

Adding the cumin cauliflower rice.

Mix it really well and add your dressing.


It is really refreshing and tasty. I will be making this again. I tried it warm and cold and like it both ways.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Crispy Green Beans

I love this time of year. Not only can you go to a farmers market and get fresh produce but I can get some from my mom's giant garden. Fresh green beans do not really need much done to them to make them out of this world good. This is a simply recipe that I always turn to when I get a batch of beans from my mom. Easy and oh so tasty.

What you need~
1 pound of green beans
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
Seasoning of your choice (I used Mrs. Dash and Everglandes Seasoning)

Cut both ends off of all of the beans. This is important to get rid of the stem and
the strange base of the beans. You maybe tempted to skip this step. Just do not do that.

Put them in a colander and wash them. Pat dry with some paper towel or let air dry for about 15 minutes.

Heat up your oil in the pan. I like the non-stick pan because then the beans come out easier and are less likely to burn. In a cast iron they tend to get overcooked faster.

Put the beans in the pan to cook. I cook them on medium/high heat. Toss them around as they cook. Usually takes about 5-8 minutes.

Looking good getting all crispy and warm. Make sure you season and taste as you go.

I mean yes it is a simple thing. That is what makes it so good. When you get good quality ingredients you do not need to do a ton to them to make them amazing. Shout out to my mom for always growing an large garden. She has a killer meatloaf recipe too.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Travel Adventures: Rock USA 2016

Ryan and I have been trying to try different music festivals this year to see what we like the best. This last Thursday-Saturday it was Rock USA in Oshkosh, WI. Overall it was a fun experience. The infrastructure of this festival was lacking and I do not think we would camp here again due to this.

Pictures are all courtesy of Chad Naze. 

Favorite performances-
 In This Moment
Man. The lead singer she is out of this world good. Her range when she sings is top notch. She was dancing all over and managing to sing. Their set was almost like a musical with set and clothing changes. I would love to see them in a smaller venue to see all the details. 10/10.

Lizzy Hale is like the female version of Dave Grohl. If you don't understand what I am hinting at she is a music legend/goddess. Her voice is strong and girl can hold her notes forever. Her brother can play the drums just as good as she plays guitar though. I have seen them two times now and they just get better everytime. Great old school rock concert. No frills. Loved every moment.

Five Finger Death Punch
I was so pleasantly surprised. The energy they brought to their set and the funny constant shirt changes was fun to watch. I liked their show and would see them again.

Noon on a Saturday? Let's rock your face off.
Their set was fun and I like that both brothers are lead singers. It makes it feel like two different bands at times which was not a bad thing at all.
High energy and ran all over the stage.

Someone needs to tell the lead singer to become an opera singer. He has skill and they sound just like the records. The back drop with fire was fantastic. They handed out lighters for us to all use for "sound of silence". It was beautiful.

We Are Harlot
The lead singer is British and hilarious. The sound kept getting messed up and breaking. At one point he sat on the floor and banged his mike on the drum since it was not working. Just a rocking good time they put on. PLUS, good show when stuff was working.


Show of the festival winner!
 O.M.G. This band is so interactive. They make you want to jump/yell/scream to everything they do. Coming into the crowd running around. I have never jumped through an entire song but I did for them. I would see them again in a heart beat. I mean look at this picture the lead singer is giving it his all. Great band.

Food: Just a blurb on the food because a foodie like me cannot ignore this at a festival. It was not good, just meh. The only thing I found that I even liked was the corn stand. They had a little stand serving corn with all kinds of fun flavors. Our favorite was garlic/parmesan.

Festival infrastructure: Mini rant, get your stuff together.
It is not wise to open gates at 11:45AM if a show starts at 12PM. No one ever gets in to see the opener. Which often is a great band. Also, what the heck is with making people pay for a wrist band for everything? I had literally three wrist bands (camping, general admission and drinking) and had to pay for each of them separately. The only take away I liked was the giant cups you could buy and then get refilled throughout the festival.

We had a great time because my friends are the best but I do not think we would all camp again. Maybe come for the day.

Until Next Time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Travel Adventures: Summerfest 2016

This past weekend we made our annual trip to Summerfest in Milwaukee WI. We love going because for the price you cannot beat the amount of music you can consume in one day. Past years we have seen The Foo Fighters, Maroon Five, Fits and the Tantrums, Ed Sheeran etc. etc.

This year we specifically stopped by to see Hank & Cupcakes again. We caught their set last year and loved their upbeat music so much we knew we had to stop in to see them play. Hank plays guitar and Cupcakes plays drums. Cupcakes also sings most of the music. I would recommend you check them out as they are super fun. The set was so colorful!
Such a bright and fun set!
Another reason I look forward to Summerfest is the food. The food here is not super fancy like Electric Forest but you can still find some unique eats if you search around.

The first thing we got to share was curry fries. It was steak fries served with a mild green curry over the top. I of course love curry and I was a fan of these. I only wish they had more spice or kick to them. As Ryan reminded me they have to appeal to a wide audience for selling so they cannot make it super spicy.

I of course had to have Reuben rolls. I tried these for the first time last year and fell in love. Made just like an egg roll they have Reuben ingredients in them served with a thousand island dipping sauce. Not crazy greasy they are the perfect side to really anything.

We had to try it. Everyone on Facebook and in WI was taking about this dessert. We roamed around and found the mystery dessert and ordered one to try. This is a deep fried old fashion. It reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake with bitters. Served with a cherry whip cream topping. It was really big I was surprised by that but I found it to be tasty and innovative.

This was a fun trip this year and I hope next year they have more good acts so I have an excuse to come back.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Snowy Owl Tattoo: Volume 1

 I am first going to plug Greg Counard and Endless Expansion Custom Tattooing by Greg Counard.
This is my 50% free hand owl tattoo that Greg started for me yesterday.

This was session 1 of 2. Outline and some shading is completed. I would say this took about 4 hours and we may have another 3-4 to complete.

A couple of friendly reminders if you are thinking of getting a tattoo. Pick an idea and sit on it for a couple weeks to make sure you still like it after a while. This art is permanent unless you get it covered or removed. Removal is painful. Research your artist and make sure they have a style you like. If you pick an artist that does a style you like you are more likely to love the end product. Lastly give them a little freedom to do what they do best. The tree branches were all added the day of and honestly they make this tattoo pop in the best way. You are getting art and making your artist just copy something off the internet is not going to get you a good piece of work. Let them have a little creativity. Trust me it will be worth it.

Greg can draw a hell of an awesome owl.

Looking amazing already.This is after a couple hours in.

Greg is the perfect tattoo artist for someone like me. I love his art and he is gentle. I am a big baby when it comes to pain and it was hard for me to sit still this long. He was patient and you can tell he is experienced the way he moved around my back and did different areas. That way one part of my back did not become overly sensitive or fatigued. He really knows what the hell he is doing.

Here it is. We still have another session to go but I will proudly rock this for the rest if my life if I had too alone. I cannot wait for September to see the details Greg puts in this owl. So happy so far.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Perfect Steak

I do not want to brag but I am pretty awesome at grilling things. It helps that I have a really great gas grill to help with the process as well. I have seen a lot of TV shows and online articles about the perfect steak. Everyone has their opinions but here is my ideas on how you can maximize your chances of a great steak.

1. A good cut of meat- This is the most important step. If you start with a good cut of meat it will be harder to mess up the steak. I have a local butcher that was kind enough to cut me some ham steaks (pictured in this post) while I waited. Now it is tempting to buy the cheapest cut of meat that they have but if you want the perfect steak that is not the way to go. Quality is worth it. Go out of your way and look for a local butcher if you can they are a wealth of knowledge and will help you pick the best cut of meat.

2. Coming to room temperature- I cannot claim this tip. Gordon Ramsey taught me this a long time ago. It is important to let the steak come to room temperature because the meat will cook more evenly and have a better sear. It usually takes a half our out of the fridge to get to temperature.
3. Season and season some more- At least use some salt and pepper people. Pictured here I used a applewood rub for my steaks. When you season you want to really coat the meat so that it creates a nice bark on the steak when seared on the grill. If you think it is too much seasoning it is perfect.

Looking good!

4. Get that grill hot! You want half of the grill on high and the other half on medium. I have three burners so the left burner was medium, middle high and left high. Sear the meat on the high side and transfer over to the medium for the rest of your cooking time.

 5. Leave your meat alone- Meat needs time to get to perfection. Only flip the meat one time. The more you flip the more the blood in the meat moves around and can cause un-even cooking. Once the meat is done you also need to leave it alone to rest a bit. I would recommend at least 3-5 minutes. If you cut into the meat right away all the juices will run out and you will be left with a sad dried out steak. Letting it rest allows the juice to move around the entire piece of meat and be moist throughout. Topping with a little slap of butter never hurts either.

Getting it's rest on.

The steaks were so large Ryan and I shared one. Yum!

I hope this was helpful and it helps you be more confident with grilling. It is summer time after all and we all want to make some tasty food.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily