Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I heart live music! {Ernie Halter}

I was not planning on taking a 10 day break from blogging but I also wasn't planning on spilling an entire cup of water into my laptop.  I hate my husbands computer so I've avoided using it but I can't any longer.  This post cannot wait!  It's timing is of utmost importance.

This is my final (and in my opinion, most important) installment of my I heart live music! series.  If you missed the others, you can read them here {Tony Lucca, Curtis Peoples, Tyrone Wells}.  The reason the timing of this is so important is because my very favorite singer/songwriter is releasing a new album, Labor of Love, TODAY!  He wrote or co-wrote every song, played and sang every note, produced and mixed the record and even designed the album artwork and t-shirts himself.  Today also happens to be his birthday (Happy birthday, E {and mom, and Jenny})!

Ernie Halter opened for Tyrone the very first night I ever saw him so I consider those two the O.G.'s of my live music love affair.  Ernie and his music have been there for me for some of the most memorable moments of my life.  His music was a huge part of our wedding, his song Come Home to Me helped me survive our last deployment (and was covered by Justin Bieber), I went to see him play the night my grandfather passed away (after hours days weeks months spent in the hospital with him, I know he would have wanted me to go).  Ernie helped me celebrate my 30th birthday and one of his songs, "Blue Dress", is even where I got the name for this blog.  To say he's been influential in my life would be a huge understatement!

Here's the ticket from my very first Ernie (&Tyrone) show.

July 2007 in NKY, only 2 months later. (we both look SO young!)

September 2008 in Cincinnati, this was a great night.  He was scheduled to play with Josh Hoge at a bar but most of the people there were more concerned with drinking than watching E & J so they packed up and we all headed to another bar on the other side of the river (Kentucky) and they played a fantastic acoustic show

February, 2009 in Cincinnati.
This night was a rough one for me.  My grandfather had passed away that afternoon after a long battle with cancer and I didn't think I was going to attend the show but my family ensured me that there was nothing I could do any longer and encouraged me to try to enjoy a night with my friends.   Honestly, after grueling months of daily hospital visits, it was the perfect distraction.

September 2009, in St Louis (again, playing with Tyrone).  Some of my girlfriends and my sister came out to visit us when we lived at FLW and the weekend just happened to coincide with an E&T show in STL.  Whatever, I'll always take visitors, even if there is an ulterior motive.  (ps. did you guys know it's ulterior and not alterior?  I didn't!  I love learning new things.)

August 2010, in Indi.  My last show before moving to Japan.  We are goobers and I love it!

May 2012 in Indi again.  I moved my flight back to America for my brother's wedding ahead almost 2 weeks so I could make it to this show.  I needed my fix!

September 2012 at my best friend's parent's house, celebrating my 30th birthday with E and some of the most amazing friends I've ever had!
Best birthday present ever!

Most recently, last week, after his show in San Diego.

My, oh my, look how we've changed in the past 7.5 years.  E, if you read this, I love you and I'm so grateful you and your amazing music are a part of my life!

So, what are you waiting for?!?  Go to iTunes or Amazon or where ever you buy your music, right now, and download some great music.  Purchase a copy of Labor of Love and help give Ernie the best birthday gift he could dream of, a #1 album on the singer/songwriter charts!

Friday, October 11, 2013

I heart live music! {Tony Lucca}

I bring to you today part 3 of what has become my "I heart live music!" series.  This time I present to you, Tony Lucca.  Those of you who are fans of "The Voice" may recognize him the finalist of Team Adam, season 2.  He's the one that was told by Christina Aguilera that he is "one dimentional" and then returned the following week to perform Britney Spears, "...Baby One More Time".  Yeah, he's awesome.

My cousin couldn't go with me this time and Jason had class that night so instead of being that strange girl by herself (not that there is anything wrong with going places alone, I go to movies and dinner by myself all the time), I decided to offer to sell merch.  Instead of paying someone to tour with them, most of these guys just have local fans sell their merchandise in exchange for 2 free tickets to the show.  This was my 1st time selling merch and I don't know that I'll do it again (well, except for next week when I've already agreed to help Ernie Halter). I was not prepared for how loud it was in the back, I'm usually right up front singing and cheering and snapping photos.  People just would not shut up back there.  I could see the stage from where I was set up but I couldn't hear much of anything over all the people (including the guy who opened for him) yapping.  (And after the show a couple came up to me and complained about the same thing.  They were really pissed that the opening act was so loud that they couldn't hear much of Tony either) From what I saw/heard, it was a really good show, I just wish I had been able to hear more.

This was my first time seeing him since his appearance on The Voice and I was really happy to see that not much had changed (other than the addition of a Britney Spears {I had to look up how to spell her name!} cover).  He opened and closed with 2 of my favorite songs that I hadn't heard him sing live in a long time so I was very pleasantly surprised by that.  I'm glad he kept it real.

Doing this little series has been so much fun for me, taking a jaunt down memory lane.  However, it has reminded me that I lost ALL of my photos taken prior to August 2012 so I'm at the mercy of what I can find on Facebook/old blog posts (thank God for those).  

This is from a show, in Cincinnati, in August 2009.

This was weeks before I moved to Japan, in Indianapolis, celebrating my friend's 21st birthday.

I wish I could find more photos but this is serving as a good reminder that I need to be better at backing up my photos and printing off and preserving ones that are important.

Come back next week for my 4th and final installment of this musical series!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flavor of the Week {Thai Coconut Curry Soup}

I haven't shared a recipe on here in a long time but since the most exciting things going on around here lately all happen in the kitchen, I figured it was about time to share some magic with you.  I've been on a huge Thai kick lately and cannot get enough Pad Thai/Thai curry/Tom Kha soup.  I rarely finish all the food on my plate and almost never go back for seconds but this Thai Coconut Curry Soup sent me back to the stove for more.

Original recipe from Key Ingredient

I left out anything and everything that mentioned cilantro because my hubby and I both have an aversion to cilantro.  We both think it tastes like soap.  I used to think that the employees at Chipotle didn't rinse their spoons very well before serving me rice, then I learned that it was the cilantro that made my burrito taste like soap, not their lack of sanitary skills.  Apparently it may be a genetic thing, either way, we HATE it!  If you like it, feel free to use it as a garnish.

14 ounce cans coconut milk
2-3 TBSP
green Thai curry paste
2 cups
cooked chicken (I used a roasted chicken)
cups chicken broth
carrot, shredded
red bell pepper, thinly sliced
lemon grass paste **
fish sauce
Soy sauce
limes zest and juice
1 inch
Piece of ginger
a handful bean sprouts
rice noodles
2 or 3
green onions, thinly sliced
**Feel free to use 2 stalks of fresh lemon grass if you have it (add it with the veggies and just remove it before serving).  Our plant isn't fully matured yet and it's hit or miss if I can find it at the supermarket so I just tend to use the paste because I can keep it on hand.

Scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of just one of the cans into a large stockpot set over a medium-high heat. Melt the cream, add 2 TBSP curry paste and stir for a few minutes until the mixture begins to sizzle. Add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes. Add the coconut juice from the first can and all the contents of the second can along with the chicken broth, carrot, bell pepper, lemon grass, fish sauce and lime zest and juice. Grate the ginger into the broth with a Microplane grater or standard box grater. Simmer for 20 minutes or so. Stir in the bean sprouts. Add the rice noodles, gently pushing them beneath the surface of the broth. Turn off the heat and let stand until the noodles soften, about 5 minutes. Rice noodles don’t need to simmer like pasta to cook; they simply need to rehydrated in the hot liquid. Taste and season with a touch more salt (or soy sauce) as needed. This is where I added the extra table spoon of curry paste.  Ladle into large bowls and garnish with the green onions.

My only issue with this soup is that when I went back for seconds, the noodles had soaked up ALL of the liquid.  This definitely needs to be consumed immediately after making it, which sucks because the left overs were supposed to be Jason's dinner at school the next night.   It was still one of the best tasting and easiest things I've made in a while and I will definitely make it again.  Also, it can very easily be made paleo (sub coconut aminos for soy sauce  and be sure to use paleo friendly fish sauce and curry paste).


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Frank the beabull

Y'all know that I am a beagle lover.  I never wanted to be a dog owner but after inheriting Buster, I cannot imagine my life without him and have fallen in love with his breed.  We had decided that when he decides he's had enough of us and joins his original parents (my grandparents) in heaven, that we're going to wait to get another dog.  Then we met Frank.  Now we're not so sure.

We first met Frank at Home Depot.  (These crazy Californians are more fanatical about their dogs than the Japanese.  They take their pooches everywhere.  There were two at the bar we were watching football at last Sunday.  I digress.)  Frank is a beabull.  A beagle/bulldog mix.  We were intrigued and spent quite a while loving on this adorable dog.

Last week while on the World Wide Photo Walk the end of our path was at the Dog Beach.  Buster is so hard to photograph so I knew I wanted to spend some time there photographing (and playing with) other peoples dogs.  As soon as I had the dog beach in sight, I instantly focused on a dog playing fetch with his owner.  He was so active and energetic, he immediately had my attention.  Turns out, that fun, jumping dog was Frank.  I stuck up a conversation with his owner, Brian, and then snapped photos of him for 20 minutes.  Y'all, I love this dog!  He's the perfect combination of beagle and bulldog, the best of both worlds.

Frank and his owner, Brian.

I gave Brian my business card and told him if he emailed me I'd send him some photos.  I couldn't pick just one or two so I sent all of these to him and he was delighted to have them.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scott Kelby's World Wide Photo Walk

First of all, thank you all for your kind words of support and encouragement on yesterday's post!

For the past several years, Scott Kelby has organized a World Wide Photo Walk.  According to their Facebook page "Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk is a social photography event where photographers get together in any public area to walk around, shoot photos, and generally have fun 
with other photographers."

Alan Hess led a walk around Ocean Beach which is the neighborhood bordering ours so I decided that this would be the perfect way to explore our new area a bit.  There were about 35 people signed up to participate in this walk but 5 minutes after the walk started everyone spread out so much along the beach that I didn't talk to another walker the entire time.  I barely even saw other walkers most of the time.  I think a lot of it had to do with our location so I think next year I might choose to do a walk in a different area.

None the less, I was pretty happy with some of the shots I got.  I forced myself to use my 50 mm lens which I rarely ever use and I'm glad I did.

Here are some of my favorites from the day

Newport Ave








Washed Up




Frank will be getting his own post later this week because I. AM. OBSESSED!

There is a contest you can enter and the prizes are pretty spectacular but I haven't decided if/what I will submit.  Do you have a favorite?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Today, the fat lady sings.

I don't even know how to say this, I feel like I just lost a limb or something.  Today, we are officially civilians.  I could never have predicted how emotion I would be over leaving the Army.  I've been crying for days, yet I cannot put into words why this is so upsetting.  I've been trying to figure out what to write about this for days and I just have no words.  I really wish I could explain my emotions right now but nothing I type seems to make sense or convey exactly how I'm feeling.

Once again, the lyrics of my all time favorite song seem to be the only words I have.

"It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life."

Friday, October 4, 2013

I heart live music! {Curtis Peoples}

2 shows in a week and I only have to wait 10 days for the next one?!?  I'm in music heaven here!  Luckily my cousin is willing to join me when she can and so far she's hooked on both artists she's seen.

This time it was Curtis Peoples, check out the video he just released for the 1st single from his new album.  Who doesn't love a little old school Nintendo?

I actually drug my big camera AND the flash I've had for 9 months now (and never used) along with me to this show and I'm glad I did.

Curtis and I spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out the last time I'd seen him and we thought we had it narrowed down but a little Facebook research proved us wrong!

The 1st time I saw him was March 31, 2009 in Cincinnati, OH.
 3 days later we (a couple of my girlfriends and I) made the drive to Columbus to see him again (and Ernie Halter & Josh Hoge)

We decided we needed more so 2 weeks later we drove 5 hours to Nashville to see Curtis & Josh, again!
(I cannot believe I'm sharing this AWFUL photo of myself on here, I seriously considered blurring out my own face!  Pale is NOT the look for me.)

We thought that show in Nashville was the last time we'd seen each other but then I remember this show was 3 months later, back in Cincinnati.

4 shows in 4 months then nothing for 4 years!  I sure am glad the hiatus is over!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I heart live music! {Tyrone Wells}

I've talked about my love of music here before.  It was one of the things I missed the most while we were living in Japan.  I managed to squeeze in a few shows while I was in the US visiting and for my 30th birthday so I didn't have to go a full 3 years without seeing a show but I couldn't wait to get back to America and get back to seeing my favorite guys play.  Luckily I didn't have to wait long.  Last week Tyrone Wells played a show at House of Blues San Diego.

With little effort, I convinced my cousin to join me.

And, as expected, we were treated to an exceptional show.

I love this man as an artist and what he stands for and believes in.

Yep, she's hooked!  She'll be back, I'm certain!

Tyrone is the one who started my love affair with singer/songwriters.  You can read the whole story that I linked above (or if you skipped it, you can read it here) but here's a little photo recap.

It all started in May 2007 when 3 girls who were slightly infatuated with a certain hockey player went to a show knowing said hockey player might be there.  I know we have photos of us with Tyrone that night but at the moment, I do not know where.  I fear they were on the external hard drive that is no longer functioning.

I know we saw him a few more times in between but these are all the photos I can find right now.  This was from a show in September 2009 in St. Louis.  We (my girlfriends and I) have never been shy about driving long distances to get our music fix.  I was living at FLW but they all drove down to see me him.

I even managed to squeeze in a show while I was back in America on vacation while living in Japan.
Indianapolis, May 2012

As if I needed more convincing that SD is the perfect place for us, not only did I get to see Tyrone this week but in the next 3 weeks, I will be seeing 3 more of my favorite singer/songwriters who are all coming to town.  I cannot even begin to put into words how excited this makes me!