Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gems of Etsy: Texas Roundup

In honor of Mr. Fonty's home state and our upcoming trip to the motherland, today we are featuring Texas on Etsy. Here are some of my favorite Texas-sized gems

Row 2: Verabel $65, Lily Gene $25
Row 3: Little Sapling Toys $12, One Canoe Two $15
Row 4: 3L Photography $25

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Put Your Best Boot Forward..

My favorite boots enjoying the sunshine during SXSW in Austin, TX
Continuing on our Texas theme (3 days till Bandera!) BOOTS!
I got my first pair of cowboy boots almost the minute I moved to Nashville. I saw them sitting in the window of a shoe repair store in Hillsboro Village, and it was love at first sight. This pair of boots led to a boot obsession. Nothing is more prized in my closet than my pairs of worn-in-to-perfection vintage boots.
Everyone should have a pair of boots.
(sorry friends, I scooped these babies up. I'll post some pics of how cute they look on my feet. Told you I had a boot obsession!)
vintage justin brown leather cowboy boots in a womens size 6a
Vintage Nocona Laramie handmade leather Western cowboy boots ladies size 10
Vintage Noconas $59 My first boots are Noconas. They are beautifully crafted boots.
Vtg Acme cowboy boots black colored inlays 6.5 women
Vintage Cowboy Boots Wmns 6 1/2 ACME
God Bless Am'rica! Perfect for the 4th $68

Old Gringo boots are not for the style-shy (or the cheap) They are unique, bold boots that make a statement. (And I would love a pair for Christmas, Mr. Fonty. wink wink)
Isn't this color to die for? Annie $315 (on sale)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tunesday with George: AthFest Recap

Mr. Fonty is over on The Biscuit Blog today giving his rundown of the best of Athfest.

Always a Bridesmaid...

Have you ever met someone and knew instantly that you wanted to be their BFF? That's how it was with my friend Hadley. I had to get in line, because she is quite possibly the most popular girl I know. She is completely hysterical in a witty way that makes you wish you were more creative. Since she is so popular, Hadley is either in or attending a wedding literally every single weekend - I know people say they have a wedding every weekend, but Hadley really does. So what does a ridiculously funny, creative person do when handed these lemons? Make Blog Lemonade!

With her friend Allison, Hadley has started Beyond Bridesmaids: always a bridesmaid... never a problem. Beyond Bridesmaids is a wedding round up of all the real life weddings the girls attend. With detail highlights, party recaps, and personal blunders (like trying to actually reuse a bridesmaid dress only to find out the bridesmaids are wearing said dress).
The "Shout" count is a genius addition. They've gotten "a little bit lower now" at the majority of the their weddings this year (mine included).

I feel honored that our pre-wedding wiffle ball game was featured in their spring wedding round up: Just carrying on an old family tradition

Get a matching dress with your best friend and get reading. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

In The Kitchen: Pulled Pork Tacos

This week we are featuring all things Texas! We are going to Mr. Fonty's ranch in the Texas Hill Country for the 4th. Nothing is more Tejas than Pulled Pork!
Mr. Fonty and I usually have what we've dubbed "Slow Cook Sunday", where I will braise a big ole hunk of meat all Sunday long. Since the weather just keeps getting hotter here in GA, short ribs, roasts, and anything served with a side of mashed potatoes are sounding less and less enticing. I've had to recreate braising recipes to be summer friendly.
Thankfully, we received the Cadillac of slow cookers: The All Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker (Thanks Levys!). The insert can be removed and used to saute vegetables and brown the meat. It also saves me from heating our entire house while cooking for 5 hours. Looks like Slow Cook Sunday will live on despite the heat!
This past Wednesday, we celebrated Athfest with all the New West folks in town from LA and Houston. We had about 30 people over, and I wanted something easy to serve that wouldn't require the oven. These pulled pork tacos were a huge hit, and so easy to make in advance. It was a great mid-week dinner party dish. I love the spicy cayenne with the sweet, yet wintery flavors of the cider, all spice and clove.

Pulled Pork Tacos:
3 lbs. Boston Butt (bone-in or out is fine)
1 onion diced
5 cloves smashed garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup Apple Cider
1/2  cup water
1 14 oz can whole tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 Bay Leaf
All spice
Salt & Pepper

Season meat generously with salt & pepper. Heat oil in a heavy pan (or slow cooker insert). Sear the meat on all 4 sides. Cook for roughly 10 minutes total.
Set meat aside
Cook the onions, garlic and spices in meat oil. Once the onions are translucent pour in the apple cider vinegar (keep your face from the fumes. A vinegar facial is no fun). Boil until the vinegar evaporates. Add the cider and the water. Stir. Add the can of tomatoes with juices squeezing the tomatoes in your hands. Stir.
Add the meat, cloves, all spice, and bay leaf and spoon sauce so it covers the meat.
Cover with lid.
Cook on Low for 8-10 hours until meat pulls apart easily.
Set meat aside. Pour cooking juice through a fine sieve to remove any vegetable. Refrigerate to separate the fat.
Pull the meat apart with 2 forks or your hands. *I did everything up to this step 2 days ahead.

When you are ready to serve, remove fat layer from cooking juices.
Heat juice and re-spice until thickened and reduced to 2/3. Add the pulled beef to reheat.
Put in serving bowl with tongs for guests to serve themselves in small tortillas.

Serve with a combination of any of the following:
Cole Slaw (Here is a great slaw recipe. I like to add green apple slivers when serving with pulled pork)
Chopped Onion/Jalapeno
Avocado slices
Lime wedges

Season the meat

Sear the meat to lock in the juices

Simmer the tomatoes and onions
I like this Pear & Cinnamon Cider from Trader Joes's
Cover the meat with the sauce
I forgot to take more pictures, but here's an idea of the finished product:
southwestern pulled brisket
Smitten Kitchen
This recipe can also be done in a Dutch oven at 325 for 4-5 hours. (i haven't timed a boston butt in a few months so this is an estimate. I'll revisit for exact timing in the fall when it cools down a bit.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Working for the Weekend

I'm moving a little slow today. The New West AthFest Kick Off Party was a complete success, however, I am regretting my late night as I try to muster energy to get some work done.
This weekend, the music mania continues. While you may not be able to partake in the festivities, take some time to check out my picks of the LOCAL lineup via the Internets.

Mr. Fonty and I saw Reptar at the 40 Watt a while back, and I wigged out. I had a few too many Hi Lifes and spent the evening demanding he go back stage and sign them on the spot (why he married me, I'll never know). Mr. Fonty didn't heed my requests, and Reptar just finished an album with Ben Allen. Get your dancing shoes on (Yes, I realize these skateboards are not doing any skating and this is just a song with a backdrop):

Centro-matic will be taking the main stage tonight, and while they are from Denton, TX and live in Austin, they visit frequently enough that it feels like they're local Athenians. Fronted by Mr. Fonty friend, Will Johnson, their haunting, mellow music will be the perfect serenade for my already worn out body.

My dear friend Jaybird (and New West shipping extraordinaire) manages Futurebirds (NOT The Futurebirds). Seeing that the New West offices double as Futurebirds' merch closet, I have every t-shirt the 'Birds have ever made (and they produce a lot of T's). Futurebirds are hot off a tour with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Former Drive By Trucker and New West artist, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit will close out the festival main stage on Sunday. I love Jason's songs. His stuff was always my favorite when he was part of the Truckers. The song below is one of my favorites. No line has ever been so true as I ask myself how it is nearly the 4th of July: "Time moves slow when you're 17, and then it picks up steam at 21"

Have a lovely weekend, Music Fans!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gems of Etsy: Roll & Tumble Press

Roll & Tumble Press creates unique letterpress posters that pack a lot of punch for their little price tag.

This sweet print hangs in our dining room. Being a photo fanatic and always behind a lens at a party, this was a must have for me: $20
Smile Handprinted Letterpress Poster

I'm a sucker for anything retro-music related: $20
Headphones Letterpress Art Print

Mr. Fonty finally made an honest woman out of me. My mom is glad this doesn't apply anymore: $20
Sinner's Sampler Hand Printed Letterpress Poster

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New West's New Bands Kickoff AthFest

Athfest Kickoff party preview:
This Thursday at the 40 Watt, for the official Athfest Kickoff Party, New West Records is bringing our three new young bands, straight out of Houston, TX....Buxton, Wild Moccasins, and Robert Ellis. Collectively, these young guns are at the forefront of the newly re-budding Bayou City music scene. The best rock, pop, and country that H-town has to offer, transplanted to Athens for one night. And let us not forget, the party will be topped off by a late night DJ set/dance party by Immuzikation.

Buxton's music is difficult to put in a box and neatly classify. Great harmonies, haunting melodies, and top notch instrumentation are staples in their set. There are hints of Phosphorescent and Bonnie Prince Billy in Sergio Trevino's vocal inflections. Their forthcoming record (to be released this fall), contains songs that evoke feelings of My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and Fleet Foxes. Buxton will begin blowing folks' minds around 10:00 or 10:30 on Thursday.


Wild Moccasins are up next, and their lively, dance-y take on pop-rock will be the perfect formula to keep the party going. Co-fronted by the girlfriend/boyfriend duo of Zahira Gutierrez and Cody Swann, the Mocs will remind you at least a little bit of Vampire Weekend...or maybe what the B-52s were like in their youth. The band will be fresh off the release of their New West debut Skin Collisions Past, which will be available on both CD and vinyl at the show.

Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis & The Boys are set to bring the house down in the headlining slot. Dust off your boots, but remain prepared to rock as well. And remain prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor a few times after witnessing the musical mastery of Wil's pedal steel solos, along side Robert and Kelly's guitar solos. At only 22, Robert may be a modern day Gram Parsons in the making...come see for yourselves on Thursday. And keep your eyes peeled for Robert's upcoming album, Photographs, which comes out 7/5.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In The Kitchen: Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Get ready to be amazed. After making these I found myself wondering how I lived without them for so long. I am salty over sweet girl any day of the week, and I love any sweet that has a hint of saltiness. These nutty, little bites of deliciousness are perfect, and make a kiddie snack seem all grown up. Rice Krispie Treats are a great hot, humid southern summer dessert, because you don't need to turn on the oven. Hallelujah!
This recipe is stolen from Smitten Kitchen:
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea sal
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box) Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 9x12 with 2-inch sides.
Melt that whole stick of butter. Stir constantly as the butter bubbles and then begins to take on a golden brown color and smell nutty. Don't let the butter burn.
Once the butter is browned, take off the heat and stir in the marshmallows. I prefer the minis. Add the Rice Krispies and Salt
Put in your dish. Using some waxed paper really helps force it into the nooks and crannies.
These won't last long...
The Buddy was a big fan.
What is that lovely pan, you ask? I swear by Staub cookware. Their cocottes are not only beautiful  (i have a stack on display in the kitchen), but they are fairly non-stick and can be put in the dishwasher - I'll take another Hallelujah on that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Midsummer Night Dream

While I am a bit confused by the name - "Midsummer Music & Food Festival" - seeing that the summer solstice hasn't even happened yet, I am really excited about hanging out in Candler Park on Saturday. The fledgling Atlanta Food Truck scene will be in full force. They finally found a place in the ATL where they are allowed to sell grub. I plan on sampling goodness from all 20 trucks. One truck is a Jalapeno Corndog Truck. Come to Mama!
I am a huge sucker for braised, shredded meats. I can't wait to try Tex's Tacos Pulled Pork BBQ taco. The Pastor Quesadilla is rather enticing too. I have a feeling Mr. Fonty will get the BBQ tacos, so I can steal a bite. This is why I married him.
YUMBII looks pretty interesting too. Korean BBQ/Mexican fusion? This could be great or crash & burn. I can never deny a fish taco though.

The food is what is drawing me, but it's the music that has Mr. Fonty in attendance. One of his bands, Ponderosa, is playing. Meet them here:
Dr. Dog is the 3rd band up, and they are one of my favorites. Mr. Fonty and I saw them a couple years ago at Tasty World here in Athens when New West was courting them. They are pret- ty great. JJ Grey and Robert Randolph round out the last 2 sets. Not sure if I will be up to marching after a day of gluttony in the sun, but stranger things have happened...
And the real reason I am looking forward to Atlanta, I get to spend the day with my sweet goddaughter. I know what you're thinking. Yes, she is in fact the cutest thing around.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gems Of Etsy: Silhouette Blue

I am a huge Etsy lover. However, among all the unique, one of kind pieces I am convinced I can't live without, there is a lot of horrifyingly ugly merchandise. I've taken it upon myself to feature the gems of Etsy.
Our inaugural seller is the stationary site Silhouette Blue.
I ordered all my wedding stationary from this site (with 305 wedding invitations, I ordered a lot of thank you notes), and could not have been happier. The stationary arrives in cute ribbon tied boxes - a great idea for gift giving. All of the stationary colors can be customized. I matched my stationary to our wedding invitations. It was an inexpensive way to make everything feel custom. The delivery is remarkably fast too. Most of the sets are $25 for 16 cards+envelopes. Can't get much better than that!
Some of my favorites:
Mr. Fonty and I are thanking our wedding guests with this little number (I know, so manly. I am sure he is thrilled):
I customized this note for my pre-wedding thank you notes. The font perfectly matched our wedding invitations (I'm kind of jelaous of the name: Olympia Biddeford. So regal):
Invitations too! I would love to use these for a backyard engagement party:What a cute wedding gift idea!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Bicycle Made For Two

I spent some time with great friends in Venice, CA a few months ago. I've always said I could never live in LA. It felt like Atlanta on steroids and my closet would always feel inferior. However, after spending an afternoon in Venice, I was hooked.
As with any hipster town, Athens is a bike friendly city, but most people ride vintage Schwinns picked up at a local Goodwill. In LA the bike is a fashion statement - fancy and stylish.
Linus Bikes,based in Venice, make some of the best looking rides I've ever seen. Founded by 2 South African guys, I can stand behind anything with this description "LINUS is the utilitarian, city bike… simple and reliable but with a personality and style that makes you feel like you’re in an old French movie… you’re floating a little from the wine you drank at lunch… maybe instead of going back to the office you’ll take a nap under a tree, go for a swim in the sea or drop by your lover’s house…" Yes, Please!
If I didn't think I would find a homeless man on Clayton Street singing a serenade to my bike after stealing it, I might consider getting one. I guess there is a reason Athenians get cheap rides.
Linus Lust:
And no bike is complete without hip accessories. I like the un-cutesyness of these bags from Acorn Bags. We don't all need to look like The Von Trapp Family Singers when cruising around town.
Roll Bag Giving new meaning to Saddle Bags

This adorable ticking stripe Handlebar Bag from DNTX has straps to double as a purse. Genius! $95