November 22, 2010

Gone Fishin'

I was contacted not long ago about doing an article for an online publication called Bloodknot Magazine. If you click on that link, it will take you to website about fishing - fly fishing to be exact. Now you're probably thinking, "Wait a minute. Fishing? But Peyton likes throwing dinner parties and drinking wine and eating donuts. Fishing?"

Yes, fishing.

A lot of my childhood was spent with a pole in my hand (and usually a bare hook at the end of my line). Fishing connected me with something my dad loved to do, and because he loved it, I loved it too. I wouldn't say I'm a great fisherwoman; but I love the practice of it, I love hooking one, I love eating them.

So although I'm certainly no master at fishing, I did have a story to tell about it. And you can find it in the Bitch Creek section of this online publication here.

Now I'm off to see if I can find a recipe for donut hushpuppies.

November 20, 2010

Physics makes us all its bitches [Alternate title: Where's a time machine when you need one?]

It has been a whirlwind 48 hours for me.

48 hours ago, I was psyching myself out for the Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, Part 1 midnight premier. WHICH WAS AWESOME. This movie was exceptional, people. But that's not what this post is about.

After staying up until 3 a.m. on Thursday night, I got up at 7:30 a.m. the next morning to get ready to head up to Atlanta with the bff you all know and love, Jeannie.

30 hours ago, we were perusing the fashion delights in Anthropologie at Lenox, not yet aware of the romping merriment that awaited us that night.

24 hours ago, we were sharing a bottle of sauv blanc at Park Tavern. Jeannie uncharacteristically ordered a cheeseburger and fries and me, sushi. After dinner, wanting to be first in line when they opened the doors at Variety Playhouse for the concert we were going to, we hailed a cab with Walter Kirkland, best darn cab driver in the ATL.

Walter dropped us off at the Variety, where a line was already forming. We, of course, started acting silly. I have proof of it:

After admitting to fellow concert-goers that the last time we were at the Variety was two years ago to see Hanson, we were finally let inside.

Being some of the first people in line, we pretty much had the choice of any seat in the house to see, for the second time, The Punch Brothers, we chose to stand at the front of the house, elbows resting on stage, purses sitting on top of it. Best. "Seats". Ever.

Up first was Dappled Grays, a local Atlanta blue-grass band, who were the perfect intro to Punch Bros. They were like the edemame to your sushi dinner. The Wheel of Fortune to your Jeopardy. The first glass of wine to your eighth glass of wine.

But if you're going to eat edemame, you're going to want some sushi. And if you watch Wheel of Fortune, you'll probably stay tuned for Jeopardy up next. And if you have one glass of wine, you know you'll have an eighth glass. (Wait, just me on that last one?) So, much anticipated, The Punch Brothers presented themselves FIVE FEET FROM OUR FACES.

20 hours ago, Chris Thile spat on me. More than once. That was how close we were.

Here's some photos in which the zoom function on my camera was not used. Keep that in mind, ok?

Chris Thile, lead singer, mandolin player.

Gabe Witcher, fiddle. Chris Eldridge, guitar.Chris Thile.

Noam Pikelny, banjo.

Paul Kowert, bass.

Y'all. This show is phenomenal. These guys are so freaking talented. They have plenty of original music, but some of my favorite songs from last night were covers that they, in my opinion, perform better than the originals. Here's a few examples:

The encore song last night was a cover of Of Montreal's "Gronlandic Edit". Click here to listen to the original. (Pretty sure there was some reefer involved in the making of that music video, by the way.) Now click here to listen to Punch Bro's version.

Jeannie and I had the best time ever, staying to meet them after the show. This was, like I said, the second time we've seen them in concert. I've blogged about it before. This was also the second time we stuck around to meet them after the show. The first time, the only words that escaped my mouth as I passed down the line, they seated behind the table, casual, friendly; me standing, sweating bullets and trying to figure out what to say, were to the bass player, Paul Kowert. "You look like a Hanson brother." Epic fail, PeyPey.

This time, we got in the back of the line, trying to be sly, thinking "they'll talk to us more because we're the last in line!" We were the last in line, until, at the very last minute, two floosies walked up. Blond floosie to the other blond floosie (loudly): "But wait! I don't have anything for them to sign." Other blond floosie: "Um, hello! Your boob!" Yeah. So we really didn't get the face time with the guys we wanted.

The next part of this post is going to be very difficult for me to get through, so I'm writing the rest in third person. I'm hoping that by doing so, I can remove myself from the reality of what actually happened and will be able to consider that it actually was not our reality. So just keep reading and then offer your apologies to me and Jeannie when you get to the end, ok?

Chapter 1

Jeannie and PeyPey exited the theater onto the streets of Five Points and, not being so sure of their surroundings and having already been approached by a man wearing a Members Only jacket and carrying a briefcase, while almost simultaneously being pummelled over on the sidewalk by a drunk kid, they called on the safety of Walter's taxi services who had picked them up from the restaurant and taken them to the concert.

"Walter, this is Caitlyn and Samantha, we're in Five Points, can you come get us?" Okay, I'm taking a break to explain to you that I, after entering Walter's cab and being asked by him what our names were, immediately replied, "This is Samantha and I'm Caitlyn." Because, you know, I couldn't be normal or anything. Clarification, done. Back to the story. After securing a confirmation from Walter of a pick up, Jeannie and PeyPey discussed what to do next.

"What do you want to do, go out? Go chill at the hotel?" PeyPey asked Jeannie. "Ehh, we may as well go out since we're already, you know, out." Jeannie replied. "Okay, sounds good. Let's head over to Virginia Highlands and find somewhere to grab a drink."

Walter, the faithful cabbie, pulled up and in hopped Jeannie and PeyPey. "Virginia Highlands, please Walter. Alright, so you're sure you want to go out?" PeyPey asked Jeannie. "Yeah, I think so. Or we could always go get a drink at the hotel bar," replied Jeannie. "It is totally up to you. I'm down for whatever!" said PeyPey. "Let's just check out Virgnia Highlands. I mean, we're already out, you know?" Jeannie said.

After Walter dropped the girls off in Virginia Highlands, they walked down the row of bars, smokey and music filled. They enter the first bar, The Dark Horse, and were met by a familiar college party scene. They left after only a few minutes, deciding they had graduated from the scene of dumb drunk girls and eager boys. (Ok, maybe not, but they just weren't feeling it last night.) Their ears led them down the street to a New Orleans blues club, Blind Willie's, where there were some pretty sweet sounds coming from within. Drinks were ordered, small talk was made. But neither Jeannie or PeyPey were having the time of their lives, which they were desperate to have, having had such an awesome time at the concert. Now, don't get the wrong idea, they had fun - the beer was cold, and there was some good people watching; but it just wasn't meeting their expectations. So at about 1:15 a.m., they made the call to Walter to take them back to their hotel.

They ended the night lazily in their Atlanta Hilton hotel beds, drifting off to sleep with the hum of the tv in the background, dreaming sweet dreams of mandolins (and mandolin players).

Chapter 2

Back home from the trip, PeyPey was loading her pictures of the concert onto her computer when she got a text from Jeannie. "OMG. Have you read Chris Thiles tweets??? They were staying in our hotel and went to the bar after the show. I'm not kidding." The words of the text message didn't register in PeyPey's mind until she read it a second time. Wait, what? "Wait, ok, so they were staying at our hotel? They were in the bar last night? The bar that we talked about going to last night?" PeyPey thought to herself. She checked twitter to read Chris Thile's updates. christhile: "The Mai Tai Lounge at our Atlanta Hilton is suspiciously crowded, given the hotel's nearly 100% evangelical conventioneer occupancy." Laughing at his wit, PeyPey confirmed in her mind that it was, in fact, the same hotel that her and Jeannie were staying in because they had been met by some evangelical convention go-ers in the hotel elevator upon their arrival. Damn.

"Shut the f*** up. Shut. The. F***. Up." PeyPey called Jeannie. "Um, yeah. Can you believe this?" Jeannie said. "I'm just kind of speechless." PeyPey said. "Let me call you back. My sister's beeping in," Jeannie replied.

Left alone with her thoughts, PeyPey played back through the events of the night. "There's no way. There's just no way," she thought. Wishing for a time machine, the phone brought her thoughts back to the present. "Hey."


"Well, we can't blame ourselves. I mean, we had no idea that they were going to be staying at our hotel. We just cannot blame ourselves," PeyPey said. "I know. I wish drunk Jeannie would've made a different decision last night in the cab. I seriously can't believe this," Jeannie said. "We can't let this ruin the memory of the great time we had last night," said PeyPey. "Agreed. But it still sucks. Maybe it was God's protection. We would've both ended up doing things we would've regretted with some roofies." replied Jeannie. (Kidding.)

After hanging up, the mournful conversation between PeyPey and Jeannie continued, via text messaging:

PeyPey: "This is difficult news to process. I'm not really sure where to go from here."
Jeannie: "I know. I. KNOW."
(After about 25 minutes) Jeannie: "I'm still having a hard time with this. Just confessing."
PeyPey: "Yeah, me too. We gotta figure out how to move past this..."
(About an hour later) PeyPey: "Hey what's the name of the bar in Virginia Highlands we went to last night? I'm blogging about all of it."
Jeannie: "Blind Willie's. Or as I like to call it, Regret."

So yeah life, touche. Tou. Che. Whatever though, this guy spit on me last night and I haven't taken a shower yet:

All in all, we had a kick-ass time. And 48 hours after all that - Harry Potter, Jeannie eating a cheeseburger (whaaaa?), spending a combined hour and a half in a car with a guy named Walter who thought our names were Samantha and Caitlyn, being spit on by Chris Thile, and finding out we could have realistically (not just in our dreams) had a drink with the Punch Brothers last night - I'm pooped. Peace out y'all.

November 17, 2010

An update on my problem...

They have been washed. But somehow, they have multiplied. I'm taking bets on how long the clean cups/coffee mugs/water bottles will sit in this exact position. Oh, and I have no idea where this UGA "Hoop Girls" thermos came from, by the way. Could I have? Would I have? EVER BEEN A "HOOP GIRL"? No. I'm assuming this is some sort of basketball thing, although it could very well be a hula-hoop thing, who knows? All I know is, my 5 feet tall body will never ever be in any sort of league call the "Hoop Girls" and hula hoop? Yeah, I never quite mastered that one on the playground. (Also? Monkey bars. We never became friends.) So, if you're the "Hoop Girl" who left this on my desk, please come claim it!

November 16, 2010

We may have a problem on our hands

But do you think I did anything about this problem after I snapped this picture? Um, no. There underlies the problem, people.

November 15, 2010

What to do with those old apples you told yourself you were going to eat but never did...

Make some muffins. The alternate title of this post could have been "Saturday Morning Baking", but I thought I'd just be more honest with you. My refrigerator and fruit bowl are where produce go to die a slow, painful death. I have the best intentions, but somehow, three weeks pass by and I still haven't cooked that sweet potato. Or steamed that broccoli. Or I've eaten a donut instead of an apple. It happens. A lot.

But Saturday I woke up, walked into the kitchen, made some coffee...(and yes, this is how we live it up in Alabama. Livin' on the wild side, baby.)

and stared at the sad, bruised apples in my fruit bowl. I couldn't let them meet the same fate as the potato that was, well, growing another potato out of itself. (Go ahead and thank me that I don't have a picture to show you for that one. It was scary and weird.) So I diced up the apples to a small dice...

I measured out milled flax seed, whole wheat flour, and white flour, as well as salt, sugar, and baking powder and mixed all the dry ingredients together...

Then I mixed together one egg, milk, and oil and added that to the dry ingredients...

and mixed until just combined. Then you mix in your diced up apples (and nuts if you like that sort of thing.)

Then spray your muffin tins and fill them about 2/3 full. This recipe makes about 15 muffins.

Pop them in the oven for about 18-20 minutes. At around 12 minutes, I sprinkled some brown sugar on top for a little crunch. You don't want to add this too early because your sugar might burn. Also, please notice my polished fingernails.

Bake for a few more minutes and then let cool. These were healthy, delish and super easy. Try them soon!

Whole wheat flaxseed apple muffins:

3/4 cup milled flaxseed
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups diced apples (about 3 small apples)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) (that's what she said)

Blend dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine egg, vegetable oil and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Fold in apples and nuts. Batter will be thick. Fill well-greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

And look, I even have nutritional data!
1 muffin = 175 calories, 2 g dietary fiber, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 9 g fat (less than 1 g saturated fat). These would make a great breakfast!

November 10, 2010

Comparing God & Oprah

I came across a few quotes from one, Oprah Winfrey today that I wanted to share. One of the topic suggestions I received was to choose and discuss quotes on my blog. I’m just going to say what I know you’re already thinking: I am not the most philosophical, deep thinker. I like wine. And donuts. And Will Farrell movies. And making fun of people. I'm not too opinionated and I’d prefer to have a conversation with you, not about the separation of church and state or Senate majority leaders, but about what color finger nail polish you’re wearing and if you know of any good shoe sales.

But like I said, I came across these quotes today and was struck by how quickly a similar bible verse came to mind with each quote. (You’d think the effects of several years of wine drinking with its remnants still floating through my short body woulda knocked some of these bible verses from memory, but thank goodness - they stuck around.)

Now, I’m not knocking Oprah. I think she does some pretty great stuff. I just want to point out that the general idea of what she’s saying in these quotes has already been said. These words were said a long, long time ago. They were inspired by God. In whom I believe. Have I mentioned that? Yeah, I believe in God. I don’t use this here blog as a platform to preach and never will, but I do want you to know that I believe in God. I want you to know me, and omitting what is at the very core of my being would be like ordering a jelly-filled donut without the jelly filling. You get my point, I hope.

Ahem. What was my point? (See, I got side-tracked by donuts. It happens a lot.) Oh yes, my point is, it’s so easy for someone to hear and listen to and understand and believe someone as powerful as Oprah say something profound like this and think that she’s come up with the answer to life, to all their problems. However, reading words written a thousand+ years ago and inspired by a being who made blind men see, who walked on water, who took five loaves of bread and a couple of fish and fed five freaking thousand people, has somehow become defunct, irrelevant, and in-congruent with our modern-day lives.

Oprah says:
"No matter where you stand right now - on a hilltop, in a gutter, at a crossroads, in a rut - you need to give yourself the best you have to offer in this moment."

God says (via the prophet, Jeremiah):
"This is what the LORD says:
'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and there you will find rest for your souls.' “ – Jeremiah 6:16

Oprah says:
"You can either waltz boldly onto the floor of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall and recede in the shadows of fear and self-doubt."

God says (via the disciple, Timothy):
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I’ll let you be the judge: Who said it better?

November 2, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Fruit Salad

Lately, I've been trying cook more at home. Last week, I had delicious dinners of fresh veggie stir-fry, seared tuna steak with sauteed broccoli and baked sweet potato slices, a homemade pizza on whole wheat crust, and this salad. I'd say I've done pretty well!

This salad was so yummy, I didn't even put dressing on it!

First, grab a pack of boneless, skinless chicken tenders. Spray some Olive Oil Pam into a saute pan and throw in the tenders. You don't want to move them around a whole lot. Just let 'em sit there; they won't stick. To the top side, spray on a little more Pam and shake on some garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper. Let them sit for about 3-5 minutes before you flip them. After you flip them, shake on a little more garlic salt and pepper and let them cook for another 3-5 minutes on that side.

In the meantime, start your salad by putting some mixed greens (I like the mix with the arugula, spinach, romaine, and radicchio) in a bowl.

Next, dice up half of a purple onion and toss it on the greens.

Then, slice up about 5-6 strawberries and throw them on the greens.

Then, take a can of mandarin oranges and throw them in a colander and rinse them off pretty well. (If you wanted to take the time to peel a tangerine, then by all means, please show the rest of us up.) Throw them on the salad.

Toss on some slivered almonds.

Throw in some reduced fat, crumbled blue cheese.

And go ahead and sprinkle on some more cracked black pepper.

At this point, your chicken should be done, so just give the tenders a quick dice and throw them on top.

Toss it all together and give it a taste. If you think it needs some dressing, just drizzle on a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. I didn't put any dressing on mine, which made it all the more healthier! It was sooo good, people. It took about 15 minutes when all was said and done, start to finish. And I had about four good size servings from it. Try it when you need something fresh, healthy, and super quick!

November 1, 2010

Editing pictures in Picnik

If you have not discovered Picasa, the free photo editing software by Google, go discover it now. Go google it and download it for free. I'll wait.

This free editing software is the best thing since bras started coming with underwires. Seriously, it's awesome. Just in the very basic application, you can fix exposure problems, crop, straighten, get rid of red-eye, do some cool color changes. But I just upgraded my version of Picasa (for free!) and there's this new option called "Picnik" on the editing menu. Picnik allows you to do oh-so-many more edits. There are fun edits like this:

Or, you can do more normal edits like the ones I'm about to show you. I'll show you the original first, then the edited version. I snapped all of these pictures over the summer when Mark and I stopped by his grandad's garden one afternoon. I've got some favorite edits that I used on just about all of these pictures: Boost, 1960's, and Vignette.

Here we go!


Edited. I love the vintage-y look of this. It seems to make the fruit and leaves pop more. And I like the rounded corners, too.

Edited. This is by far my favorite one:

This one is kind of eerie to me. A late afternoon storm was rolling in and the clouds started getting pretty dark. Here's the original:

I did something kind of funky with the edited copies. This TOTALLY transformed the entire picture. There is seriously so much you can do in this program FOR FREE!

Another version. Kind of dusty. I acheived this by only filtering in one certain color:

These next few were so pretty on there own, they didn't need much. Here's the original:

And here, I 'boosted' it, and added the 'vignette' feature to shade the corners.

I love the angle of this picture. Original:

Here, I just clicked the "Auto Fix" button. This is a nice option for those of you who don't have time (to waste) to jazz up your pictures and want to get it all done in one click. I bet you're the type who likes shopping at Wal-Mart, too, aren't you? One stop shop kind of person? Now if only our lives came with "Auto Fix" options, huh? Auto Fix (subtle differences):

Boosted and vignetted:

What do ya'll think? Think you'll try it out? Should I start charging for photo shoots now??