Gettin' Chili...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Growing up, I used to hate chili night.   Irrational yes, as chili comes in many types and tastes, but true nonetheless.  I think it goes back to my absolute hatred of beans, and all things bean-like.  (To this day I won't touch them!)  

With adulthood came the realization that chili could be made without beans, which has opened up a whole new world of chili (and chili-dogs...yum.)  I've been experimenting with beanless chili for a while now and I've think I've come up with a winner that I can't wait to share with y'all!  It's just perfect for the chili weather we've been having here in Boston...(we actually had snow on Saturday!)

Without further adieu, enjoy this yummy one pot turkey-chili ala Fearsy.  Enjoy! 

Ingredients Needed: 2  tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth, 1 (7 ounce) can salsa, 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or coarsely chopped tomatoes packed in puree, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow bell pepper, diced ( They didn't have green bell peppers at TJ's this time so I just substituted another red,) 1 cup corn, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese,corn chips
(I like to start by dicing all of my veggies ahead of time, as well as mixing the spices and taco seasoning in a little bowl.) 1.Begin by adding a little olive oil to the pot over medium heat and saute the onions until they are translucent.   Crumble the ground turkey into the pot stirring to break up the turkey as much as possible.  After the turkey has browned add the spice and taco seasoning mixture and the tomato paste and mix until the meat is evenly coated.  

2. Pour in the beef broth and allow to simmer for about 5 min.  After the mixture has reduced slightly, add in the bell pepper mixture as well as the tomatoes, salsa, and corn.  Allow to cook for 10-15 min more adding water to adjust consistency.  

3.  Ladle chili into serving bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and corn chips.  Yum!

Getting Our Jam On: Blitzen Trapper, Dawes, and the Belle Brigade

Monday, October 31, 2011

Of the many exciting things that happened this weekend, I have to say, one of the highlights was getting to go see the Dawes/Blitzen Trapper concert this weekend.  I had the opportunity to see Blitzen Trapper last year, but have been wanting to see Dawes for quite some time and let me tell you, they do not fail to disappoint.  Nothing short of spectacular. (We even got to meet the lead singer of Dawes, Taylor Goldsmith, Lauren and I were superfans and scored a picture, see below!)   
Just a few photos of the concert, my favorite is the one where Nick and Kaston were rocking out :)
I love the moment in a concert when everyone is singing at the top of their lungs and you can just feel this collective music love surrounding you, it was quite the experience.  We sang and danced, (I'm pretty sure I pulled out a two step with both Ian and Edward at one point,) and  I could barely speak by the end.  So worth it. 

Not to be lost in the Dawes & Blitzen Trapper lovefest, I was also introduced to a new band that I simply must share with you, The Belle Brigade.  They were the new openers for the show and literally blew my socks off.  (I mean it, my socks were missing.)  They're a headed by  brother and sister duo, Ethan and Barbara Gruska,  who not only totally know how to rock out, but belted out the most beautiful harmonies I've heard in a while. Do yourself a favor and check them out.  I can't wait to see them headlining their own shows soon, they are THAT GOOD.  Check out the following videos from all of the bands, they're so great!  

Can't wait to update y'all on the next show!

What's Making Me Happy

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm so excited for the weekend to be here!  This week seemed to drag by, which is how I always feel when I have fun things planned for the weekend.  Halloween is SO MUCH FUN!  I spent the entire night last night working on my costume and watching that nail-biting world series game...(woo hoo the Redbirds are going to game 7!)  On top of all that excitement, here's what's making me happy, halloween style.

  • These halloween pillow prints from My Paper Crane.  Check out her holiday decorating, it's soooo cute.  I may have to try a couple for next year!
  • These adorable pumpkin carving ideas.  
Owl Pumpkin, Nightmare Before Christmas Pumpkin, Death Star Pumpkin, Faux Bois Pumpkin

  •  This house all lit up for Halloween.  (I know everyone is posting this link but it's just so cool!)  
  •  This Halloween or Williamsburg tumblr.  So funny, so true. 
Nah, I'm just in a band.
  •  This Halloween bingo from
I can't wait to play!

Hope y'all all have a wonderful Halloween weekend!  Let me know what you're dressing up as (or if you win Halloween bingo!)   

The Book Nook: Halloween Edition

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I love to read.  I mean it, I loooove it.  As a kid I quickly ran through all of the age appropriate books (hellooo American Girl,) by around the 3rd grade and was already reading my parents books off the shelves by the age of 12. (This is probably where my shameless love of romance novels comes from, I blame you mom.)  My love for bad Nora Roberts aside, I really wanted to share with you all the books that I've been reading that are really good as I come across them in a semi-annual post, The Book Nook.

I've always been a huge fan of fantasy fiction, with some of my favorites being series such as Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and of course Harry Potter.  Knowing my love of these epic sagas, I recently received a little gift in the mail from Mr. B containing one of his favorite books, The Magicians, by Lev Grossman.  (So nice, right?!)  He'd described the book as an 'adult Harry Potter,' and while I was a bit skeptical, (really who can top Harry?)  I was eager to dig into the book, and I'm so glad! 
The Magicians is narrated by Quentin Coldwater, a gifted high school senior who has secretly carried on his childhood obsession with a book series about 5 children who travel to the magical land of Filleroy. Quentin struggles with the feeling that there is something missing from his life in Brooklyn, (which cannot live up to his dream fantasy world of Filleroy,) when he is abruptly admitted into an exclusive magical college (Brakebills,)  in up-state New York, where he learns that there is more to magic than simple spells and flicks of wands, in reality it's very difficult, time consuming, and even at times, a little boring...

I can't say enough how much I'm enjoying this book. As adults, we see Quentin and friends struggling with drugs and alcohol, sex, and actually applying magic in a meaningful way once they have graduated.  If you've ever wondered what the dark side of Hogwarts might have entailed, this book may be the answer.

Beings as it's Halloween, I also couldn't help but reminisce about some of my favorite scary books that I read as a child as well, such as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, (remember The Red Ribbon about the girl with the ribbon tied around her neck, or the Hook where the couple keeps hearing a scratching noise on the roof ?  So scary!)  And who can forgot the Goosebumps and Fear Street series by R.L. Stine?  I loved Deep Trouble (probably plays into my love of Shark Week,) and The Wrong Number
The Dainty Squid's Palahniuk collection, isn't it wonderful?

Finally, I have to share with you all that one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, (of Choke and Fight Club fame,) has recently released his newest book, Damned!  Check out the review from The Dainty Squid, she had the book sent to her early to review, the lucky duck!  It looks like a great Halloween read and I can't wait to pick it up. 

Have you read The Magicians, or the sequel The Magician King?  What are some of your favorite scary stories/books? 

For the love of...facial hair

Monday, October 24, 2011

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I love facial hair. Really. Love. It.  (I'm nearly certain that this the only post on the Internet that begins with that sentence.)  I've dedicated a large amount of time making art dedicated to the beard and mustache, & I'm constantly getting photos from friends who see something beardly or mustachioed and reminds them of me. 
Emilie took this pic on her trip to Ireland...mustaches everywhere!

As children of the 80's, we were inundated with different variations of the beard, from ZZ Top, to Tom Sellack, (by far the best mustache around,) and of course my favorite, the many variation's of my father's (Big Al) many mustaches. 

It's rare to find other friends who shares this love, which is why I immediately knew that I had found a kindred spirit in Miss Lauren Farrell.  The girl has a legit book dedicated to beards.  Lauren and I often attribute our love to our growing up in the Midwest (she's from the great state of Minnesota,) where flannel and beards prevail, hunting season begins, and with it comes my favorite month of the year... No-Shave-November!  So in light of the upcoming holiday season, I wanted to share some of my favorite beardly items on the Internets... Enjoy!  

 (Feel free to share your own favorites in the comment sections!)

1.'s "Shiver Me Timbers" beard maker and beard stickers...I can't stop giving everyone I know a beard.  (I'm sure Mr. B is getting tired of my doctored photos of him with a beard... subtle hints right? :)  
Playing around with fun!
 2. Concert Posters featuring some of my favorite artists with my favorite beards.  Plus their music melts my heart.  Bonus.  I want them all!
Ray Lamontagne, Sufjan Stevens, and Iron & Wine
 3. This barbershop themed birthday party.  I want the cake sooo bad!

4.'s feature with presidential beard-havers.  So funny!

Monthly Mixtape

Friday, October 21, 2011

There's something about fall that just makes me want to go on a road trip.  The leaves changing, the crispness in the air... it really just begs for a long drive with the windows down.  As a general rule, I love the ability to live in a city with such a great public transportation system where I don't have to drive everywhere, but sometimes you just want to drive.  This is definitely one of those times.

I don't know about y'all but for my group of friends, the road trip music ranks just about as high up on the list as the road trip itself.  I love piling into a car, cranking up the stereo, and singing your heart out while the wind whips through your hair...sigh.  In the spirit of the onset of fall and my (hopefully) impending trips, I've created a little road trip playlist with some of my favorite fall driving songs. So feel free to jump in the car, roll down the windows, and sign your heart out while the man in the car next to you gives you weird looks.  Enjoy!

Pretty much anything is better on a stick...and fried.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I had such a fun little weekend, I hope you all did too!  Like most of my weekends, I spent a lot of time planning on crafting and then having so many other fun things come up that it kinda got pushed to the back burner, but I'm working on a few projects that I can't wait to show you all.  Soon I promise!  

Other than my craft-crastination, I have to say that one of the highlights of my weekend was a little party that my wonderful friend Khalilah threw this past Saturday.  Khali is the queen of unique food parties and this was no different, a 'food on a stick' party!  As a county fair devotee since I was a child, one of my favorite foods on a stick is the corn dog and I won't even lie, I'm something of a connoisseur.  A hot dog covered in cornmeal goodness and smothered in mustard?  What's not to love?  I've become somewhat shocked to find that my friends and coworkers from the Northeast not only don't have fairs, (gasp!) but most of them have NEVER tried a corn dog!  When I learned this, I knew my mission was clear...corn dogs for all! 
Armed with ingredients and my new fry daddy, (my Mema would be so proud,) I trekked over to Emilie, Kaston, and Nick's apartment, where food just tastes better, and we set out to make some mini corn dogs.  Kaston had the genius idea to fry marshmallows dipped in chocolate, graham crackers, and then cornmeal and fried, resulting in the yummiest fried s'mores!  Well, after that genius move we got a little fry-crazy and  fried Emilie's famous pumpkin pie and cheesecake... we would have made Paula Deen proud. 
Fried S'more...couldn't make this up if I tried

The party was so much fun and there was some AMAZING food, (those gastronomy students know their stuff!)  I can't wait for the next one, maybe a taco fiesta?  Thanks to Khalilah for throwing such a fun party and to Emilie for standing by while I fried everything in her home! I'm definitely going to have to eat salads all week to make up for it, but it was SOO worth it!
Dog Fight
***If you're interested in frying up your own mini (or regular sized,) corn dogs, check out this recipe adapted from The Hillbilly Housewife.  I followed her excellent instructions to the T (except I substituted buttermilk for milk,) it was so good!  Feel free to browse her blog more, it's filled with yummy recipes!
 Lauren and I hammin' it up

What's Making Me Happy

Friday, October 14, 2011

As many of you know, I have a job that allows me to spend a pretty intense amount of time on the Internet.  We often joke that the amount of work I have is directly proportional to the amount of pins I have on Pinterest. (If you're interested in following me, click here!) So, in an attempt to somehow justify this incredible expenditure of time, I've decided to do a weekly 'What's Making Me Happy' post, where I can share all of my favorite Internet memes with you and you can join me in endless surfing of the Internet.  So grab a Diet Pepsi, (it's my favorite,) lean back in your chair, and enjoy some serious Internet fun....

  • Everyone knows my love for crafting and vintage, and I'm a pretty religious follower of Elsie Larson's blog A Beautiful Mess.  When I first started reading her blog, I kept thinking to myself, these places seem so familiar..., and lo and behold, I come to find out that she's from my hometown of Springfield, MO!  Whodathunkit?  Elsie has a fierce sense of fashion, some fantastic tattoos, and an adorable little shop Red Velvet.  This week she posted a could of really great DIY's that I can't wait to try.  So click on over to read more about her posts about adding elbow patches to sweaters, (the hearts are tooo cute!) and making your own woodgrain rug.  
Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess

  • I'm loving performance artist's Miranda July's "Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted."  As someone who often has her phone attached to her fingers, I probably need to do this.

  • Does anyone else love watching Bravo TV?  I won't lie that I occasionally sneak a view of the housewives, (I mean really, it's a TRAINWRECK,)  but my favorite shows are the ones focused around creative competition.  The model created by Project Runway, has been duplicated by Top Chef, Top Chef  Desserts, and my new favorite, Work of Art.  I absolutely loved watching it last year in it's first season, and if this new season's premiere is any indication, it's going to be pretty epic.  It's also a great way to derive some inspiration for your own art projects, every night I watch I can't wait to go and paint something!  I haven't picked a favorite yet, but there seem to be a couple of people who will definitely be entertaining to watch! (Hello, the Sucklord?!?!)  On top of religiously watching this amazing show, I have to let you all in on a little secret that is Jerry Saltz.  In addition to being an incredibly respected art critic and writer for New York Magazine, Jerry is one of the critics for WoA, probably my favorite.  Following the airing of each episode, Jerry writes a recap with his thoughts after seeing the whole show, explaining more behind his and the other decisions and other goodies.(Here's a link to his first crit for Season 2, Kitsch Me If You Can.)   He's such a thoughtful and humorous critic of the artists and even himself,  and I can't get enough of him, (even when I disagree with his decisions.)  Do yourself a favor and watch/read these little gems!
  •  Scared Bros At a Haunted House is a collection of hidden camera pictures at the Nightmare Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, CA.  As someone who nearly wets herself when visiting haunted houses, I can't stop giggling at these!
Bro is SCARED via Buzzfeed
  •  I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I have some fantastic new photos on my blog all because of a sassy little lady named Khalilah.  She was so wonderful to trek down to the North End and take photos for Emilie and I and they turned out soo well!  We had so much fun, and I think I tricked a tour group into thinking that I was going to be uuber famous.  Tricksy...  Thanks so much Khaliliah!  To see more of Khali's amazing photography and read her super addictive blog Concrete Magnolia.  You won't regret it! 

 Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and I'll see you soon!

Gettin' picky: Apple Orchard Adventures

Monday, October 10, 2011

I love fall...really, I adore it.  You know that moment when you walk out the door one morning and the air is cool and you can literally just smell fall?  I get giddy.  In the Midwest, this change means football games, hayrides, bonfires, corn mazes, cozy sweaters and bearded men... what's not to love?  In New England, this means trips to Salem, haunted ghost tours, leaf gazing, picking. 

 When I first moved to Boston, I was ecstatic to experience a true New England fall foliage extravaganza, yet true to my luck we experienced what I lovingly refer to as 'rainmageddon.'  No beautiful leaves. No fall adventures. Just rain, rain, rain, and term papers.  Needless to say, my first New England fall did not live up to expectations.   What better way to make up for lost time than a trip to the orchard?

I'd never been to an apple orchard before, so I was super excited to enjoy the full experience, 'farm to table.'  Knowing that Emilie and Kaston are always up for an adventure, and being that we each had guests in town, we seized the opportunity, piled into Emilie's car, and set off for Smolak Farms in North Andover.  One short trip and many sing alongs later, we arrived to find the orchard, a little petting zoo full of adorable animals, and a gift shop with cider, toys, and the apparent pinnacle to an apple picking trip, cider doughnuts. 
(Unfortunately, I cannot partake in the doughnuts because of my cinnamon allergy, hence the caramel apple air of disappointment :) 

We had so much fun climbing trees to find the best apples, attempting to juggle, (don't apples just beg to be juggled?) and even sneaking a couple of bites...don't tell. 

And of course, Emilie created some delicious treats from our freshly picked apples, check out her post about making Apple Cobbler with Cheddar Biscuits.  The boys said they were amazing! (Damn you cinnamon allergy!!!)