September 28, 2012

fixation friday: wine-o

Welcome to the end of the week friends! It's that time again, time for me to think long and hard ::insert Peter Griffin Laugh:: about what I'm fixating on this week.

I've already discussed my fixation for Pearl Jam, and to be totally honest I'm still fixated on them. I can't stop thinking about the show. Add to that the fact that I've been reading a book I purchased for Mike at Christmas about the band, that I'm almost finished reading, you've got a full blown obsession going on over here. Better late than never right?  I also may or may not have dug out a ton of CDs this morning, thus fully loading my 10 disc changer with only PJ CDs (minus 3 slots left for Foo Fighters and and Eddie's solo projects - I'm a freak).

Instead of saying the same shizz over and over I'm going to talk about the other thing I've had on my mind not stop since probably last weekend and that's my beloved obsession with WINE!

Wine-O At Heart!

I'm going to blame my current craving for the lovely drink of the gods squarely on Eddie Vedder. From the moment he walked out on stage last weekend, toting his trademark bottle of wine and notebook I've been craving some red wine. If you've never been to a live PJ show, know this. Eddie drinks at least two bottles while performing on stage. I'm oblivious to how he doesn't get dehydrated doing that. I love me some red but I usually walk around after drinking it feeling like I look like Fire Marshall Bill. [Side note: I loved In Living Colour in my teens!]

obsessed with this image • via • Peace, Love, Eddie and Wine
I wasn't alone in my craving, Mike too was ready for some red wine as well. We decided to do what any sane crazies in need of a fix would do and snag a few cheap bottles of wine at Target and our local grocery store on a Wednesday night.

Truth be told Mike and I really don't drink a lot during the week. When fall rolls around we have a bit of a tradition on Thursday nights - we get a bottle of wine to share with our dinner and watch our favorite tv line up on NBC. It's a fun, date night like tradition we've tried to keep going.

This week we got a bit reckless, and bid farewell to our usual schedule. Instead of Thursday - we got our wine on Wednesday and I declared it WINE AND PIZZA NIGHT! We enjoyed our food, and great conversation and our wine on the front porch. This is a new tradition I could definitely get used to, especially after a long work day.  Front porches aren't just for happy hours folks!

 not bad for cheap wine and a store bought deli pizza right? • via turnedup2elven

After dinner I watched a movie and relaxed on the couch, and did what any normal person does and instagramed about it.

Cheap Wine and a movie - What to Expect When You're Expecting {it was cute} • via turnedup2eleven

I love most wine. Red and White alike, but I will be honest I hate sweet wine. Hate it. It gives me acid reflux and a headache and I just can't handle it. Don't ever try to serve it to me, I'll pass it up every time. I'm also not a real big fan of Chardonnay - I just don't like it. Last time I had it, hang over from hell.  I also love my wine to be crisp. I'm a big fan of Pinot G - most will say that's sweet and I have had some that I had to turn away from for being too sweet. But in the end if it's light, crisp and chilled just right and NOT overly sweet. I'll love it long time.

Reds however, are my favorite. I love a full bodied red. Zinfandel is the best. The wine we purchased on Saturday was pretty cheap, and the cheapest bottle was actually better. The first was a mixture of Zin, Chard and Merlot but was way too sweet. I don't think I've ever had a red that sweet... I will not be purchasing it again.  The wine Mike snagged was much better (pictured above).

I'm a firm believer that you don't have to buy the BEST wine. Sure there are some amazingly delicious expensive wines out there but you can find a favorite on any budget.

My go to Wine for any time is Gnarly Head's Old Vine Zin. Like I said I love my Zins. It's usually about $9.99 / bottle at our local store, often times maybe $14.99 depending on where we shop. But I love it. It might not be the best but it makes me happy. That's all that matters. We served this at our wedding, thats how much I love it. I loved the left over bottles even more! I like a wine that makes me crave steak, or pizza. Reds do that to me all the time.

via google

This time of year - I look forward to the cool weather and the holidays. Mike's sister and brother-in-law come in town from Colorado and Thanksgiving always becomes a bit of a wine tasting. We each purchase a bottle to pass around and share and it warms my heart and my cheeks to try the different brands. This winter we are supposed to head to Colorado to visit them for the first time and I hope that the same tradition will be happening again.

I. LOVE. WINE! Love it. Especially this time of year.

Do you love wine? What's your favorite type, and brand? I'm always open to suggestions!
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September 26, 2012

tuned in.

I will be the first to admit, I watch a lot of television. Maybe not as much as some people do, but by most non-tv viewers standards I watch tons of TV. That being said I'll be the first to also admit I love our DVR. Passionately, not physically though that would be sick.  I really love the idea of recording my favorite shows and having them wait for me while I go out and try to live life. Or honestly just try to complete cooking a home cooked meal.  Living in a Central Time Zone I rely on our DVR a lot in order to get the kitchen cleaned up, make a meal for us, and then get the kitchen cleaned up again. I love being able to pause a show I'm watching in order to use the restroom, answer a phone call or just stop it all together and come back to it when I have time. I also enjoy fast forwarding through commercials.  There are often times we are sitting in the living room while something we want to watch is recording and we don't watch it, just so we can have the convenience of hitting FF through those blasted commercials.

That being said, I do believe I could survive without DVR, but I frankly don't want to. Sure if times turned hard, or we had to scale back for the sake of a budget. I'd get rid of it, but I'd totally kick and scream the whole way.

Today Misty over at Handbags and Handguns gave us a list of the Fall Show line up she'll be watching and it inspired me to share the shows I'm looking forward to watching the most this season! I'm totally giving Misty credit for this - she's on the ball I'm just trying to keep up! Thanks girl!

First up, I'm dying for the new season of this show to start!

Walking Dead

I am in one word, obsessed with this show. So obsessed that the season finale kept me awake at night for 3 days straight trying to figure out what might happen this season. I love every single cast member and what they bring to the table. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this damn show!

Hart of Dixie

It's a bit of a cheesy show, and maybe the South isn't portrayed 100% accurately with the accents being off and some of the behavior, but for the most party it's a feel good show that gives me warm fuzzy feelings and I adore Rachel B. So it's a win/win for me. And let me just say the fashion on this show, is always awesome! I'd kill for Lemon's jewelry box!

Always Sunny In Philadelphia 

Mike and I are semi new to this show and are kicking ourselves for not watching it when it first started. It's amazing. I love every, single, bit of this show. I laugh my ass off and we often reference it now in our everyday lives. I'm still waiting on kitten mittens in the mail. And we really wish we could go have drinks with this cast. Maybe one day we'll make it to Philly.


I will be the first to admit, I had a love/hate thing going on with this show when it first started. I wanted to love it so much, but I got bored mid way through the first season. I stopped watching but my DVR kept recording. I deleted about 4 episodes and didn't watch them... I watched a few of the final episodes of season 1 and heard rumors it was being canceled. After watching the last 2 parts of season 1 I got a bit sad to hear it might get canned. When Season 2 started, I was iffy about it all. They changed the opening title sequence which I frankly think sucks now... but something was different. It was less of a rush to get you up to speed on what a Grimm was and the story and characters were starting to develop. (Note - I love Monroe, Love him!) Add to that the fact that it stopped seeming so much like a total CSI spin off with fairytale info. They finally stopped doing case after case with supernatural creatures and started to tie them all together to one HUGE case with small ones sprinkled in. The only way I can describe my rekindled love for this show is that it's a total bandaid for me and my aching heart over Buffy the Vampire Slayer being over. There are lots of similarities to Buffy in this show and I think that's what brings me back. And thankfully the special effects are getting a little better, each time it airs.

Last but never least

Wilfred and Louie

I love both of these shows. They are a bit dark, but still funny and heartwarming. If you love dogs and you're not watching Wilfred, let's just say you're totally missing out! Their new season has already been in full swing and has not disappointed one bit! There are also lots of great cameos in both of these shows from famous actors and comedians.
via google
via google
Sprinkle in my favorite Thursday shows on NBC

Community • Parks n' Rec • The Office • Up All Night

And you've got a really well rounded DVR full of entertainment for Mike and I. I am sure there are a few shows I'm completely forgetting to mention... but for the most part these are the ones I'm most excited about being able to watch again.

We also regularly record anything that Anthony Bourdain is on - the No Reservations Final Tour has us hooked as always. But let's be fair, Anthony could brush his teeth on film and I'd still be interested in what he had to say through mint paste.

So I ask you - what are you into and watching? Maybe my DVR has some more space to share? Let me know and stop by to visit Misty, tell her what your'e watching! She's always adding new shows to her DVR - I'm not sure where she finds the time, but she does! :)

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September 25, 2012

I just wanna scream, Hello!

It's been well over 24 hours since my last glimpse of Pearl Jam on stage at the ATL Music Midtown festival and I'm still dancing on the inside! Outside, I'm battered, and sore. If you've never been to Atlanta, Peidmont Park where the concert was held, is HUGE. They blocked off a section for the show and it was a huge lot of grass, hills, concrete and awesomeness!

I woke up, without my alarm at 5:30 AM -  Not sure if I was just excited or ready to roll. We got ready and hit the road at about 7:00 AM. We should have probably left earlier, we didn't take into account the time change between Alabama and Georgia. Not a big deal - we didn't miss anything serious and were able to snag all the swag we wanted.

Two T-shirts, a sticker, and Two great screen printed posters.

Biggest HIGHS:
We caught Adam Ant's set - it was so fun. We also were able to catch Ludacris from far away, and later Florence and the Machine up close and personal. The BEST part was being about 20 ft. from the fence next to the stage for Pearl Jam. We wormed our way as close as we could without being completely rude to others who were there longer trying to do the same.

There was so much amazingly delicious smelling food there. Food trucks, vendors, you name it they probably had it. And yet, I settled for a slice of pepperoni pizza. Simple, I knew it would sit OK on my stomach in the heat and it was awesome! SO tasty! I wish I could remember the name of the place - I'd visit there again in a heartbeat. Mike opted for a BBQ Sandwich - which looked pretty tasty as well.

At concerts, Mike and I aren't big drinkers, and it's a good thing. The 24 oz beers were $10.00 EACH! That was sort of a low, but at the same time we only wanted water so it was a plus.

FREE WATER STATION = NOT GETTING DEHYDRATED! Score! I filled up my 32 oz bottle at least 5 times that day and drank it all.

Seeing Eddie walk on stage for the first time, truly took the wind right out of my lungs. It was a huge HOLY SHIZZ moment! So close to someone I've been enamored by for so many years. Add to that Jeff Ament, forgetaboutit. Mike's lucky I didn't faint!

Biggest LOWS:
I got two blisters - but thankfully I caught them before they popped (sick sorry) - I was able to ward off any further pain with HUGE bandaids I brought with me AND the blister block I purchased before the show. Needless to say my 'dogs were barking, loud' by the end of the day. The pain was minimal compared to the greatness that day!

Second day of a Music Festival means second say port-o-pots. Blech! I was prepared though. I made sure to purchase a pack of tissues, as well as a pack of wet-ones to clean my hands after the use of the port-o-pots.  Answer me this, why do they always set them in direct sunlight? Talk about death in the heat, add to that day old funk, and it's VOM DOT COM!

Missing Garbage's set. I wasn't really disappointed but I sort of wanted to catch them. But to be fair we were taking our posters back to a friend's car so they wouldn't get damaged during the rest of the event. We miss a few other acts but most of which I had never truly heard of so I was OK. I'm sure I missed out a bit from what others say but I'm content with who I saw, what I heard and what I was able to do durning the long day.

Young kids making comments about "All theses old people trying to relive their glory days by going to see Pearl Jam." It took a lot not to cuss out the young "privileged preppy kids" behind me that said that. As Mike stated when I told him they said that... If it wasn't for us buying the records in our youth, those brats wouldn't be here to witness Pearl Jam. Douches!

White folks love to dance, horribly to Ludacris. I got such a kick out of the fans dancing.

Girls will wear any type of footwear to a show and not care how uncomfortable it is. Platforms on grass? Are you serious?

I swear the 90's and 70's were alive at this show. It was like Coachella mixed with Seattle everywhere I looked. [ And I liked it, a lot!]

Pre-teen and Teenaged girls are small, mighty and bitchy: During Florence + The Machine's set we were surrounded by small girls. All belting out every lyric that flew out of Florence's mouth (is her name Florence, I didn't research that). It was an amazing set and I think the did a great job but I was worried about making one little girl angry for fear they might form a VOLTRON-esque TEEN GIRL MONSTER and kill me.

We almost witness a fight before PJ right next to us but it was quickly diffused. A drunk girl was trying to push her way through Mike and another tall guy. She called them both A-holes (classy) and her short, stocky, mouthy brother tried to defend her against the TALL, Marine that told her to back off. I just thought to myself. SO Help me, if I get a black eye because of you ass hats before Eddie takes the stage I will go mental, call my TEEN VOLTRON GIRLS and kick both your asses!

At MIDNIGHT after a long day of only drinking water and eating one slice of pizza, a Big Mac Extra Large Value Meal REALLY hits the spot! Not a healthy spot but I was so happy to eat that!!!


Bottom line I'd do it all again, and again just to see Pearl Jam and I'm already anxiously awaiting their next tour close by... or far... HAVE DESIRE, WILL TRAVEL!

I think what I like, and admire most about Pearl Jam is that they are a group of guys that have been together 20+ years, with little or no drama. It's not about fame or fortune to them. It's not about who's the front man, and who's not. They are in this for the music, the fans and the love of what they do. It's completely evident to see them play and to hear them talk to the crowd. I have to say, this was my all time favorite show I've EVER been to.

The Days Line Up!
O'Brother • Civil Twilight • LP • Garbage • Ludacris
Neon Trees • Florence + The Machine • Girl Talk
via my instagram @turneduptoeleven
I wanted to remember the set list for years to come so I thought I'd post it here for you to see, and for me to have for safe keeping! (Enjoy my notes if you actually read it).

  1. WHY GO - I was excited they opened with this song, love it! {And yes, I cried when they took the stage}.
  2. SAVE YOU - such a powerful song/message.
  3. ANIMAL - This song always makes me think of Mike. He always counts the 1-2-3-4-5 on his fingers when the song starts in the car, so I had to smile when it started, and he started with his fingers counting 1-2-3-4-5.
  4. ... SMALL TOWN - This is the first song, I could really hear the entire crowd of 52,000+ people singing. Talk about chills!
  5. CORDUROY - Not a ton of people like Vitalogy, but I loved it in HS, and still do today.
  6. GOT SOME - Mike was excited that newer material was played a lot in this show. He's seen PJ three times before this show. The last show he was at was in 2003. They haven't been here in the South since then. Mike and I have been talking and then together for 8 years and not once have they made it here until now. Hearing the new stuff was exciting for me, but I think meant more to him.
  7. AMONGST THE WAVES - Before this song Eddie gave a small speech about loving people, family, friends, bandmates. That how after 20 years together they still love what they do, weathered any storm the band might have had, or relationships they had and they were still together stronger than ever. Tell us all that if we have that love it's worth working for. Eddie asked if we had that in our lives and Mike grabbed my hand and held it up high our fingers entwined. This song is extremely moving, and it was that much more moving to share it with my husband.
  8. WISHLIST - I've blogged about this song before. It always, always, always makes me smile. It's such a simple, touching song.  I was also hoping they would play this (song hope 1)
  9. BETTERMAN - I prayed they would play this song. It's a HUGE, HUGE part of my relationship with Mike. When we met we were both dating other people. I hadn't admitted to myself how miserable I was in the relationship I was in. I was losing ground and myself but wouldn't face it. One night, before going to bed I started to set my alarm and this song came on the radio. I laid there an listened to it for the millionth time in my life, but this time really listened to the lyrics... I realized I was the woman in the story. I lied and said I was in love with that guy, because I thought it was the best I could do. I realize I had become all I hated about girls in tragic relationships and the only reason I was still there was my own doing, and it wasn't his fault we weren't meant to be together. Soon after that night of crying myself to sleep, I ended our relationship. If not for Eddie's words I might still be there, stuck in a relationship that didn't fill me up. Thankfully I took it as a sign, and got my crap together so that eventually, almost a year later, I could be free to be with Mike. Emotionally and physically. And if you're wondering, yes, I cried during the song, and yes Mike knows this story, and he held my hand and we smiled - I hope he knows I did find a better man, the best man, Him. (song hope 2)
  10. DO THE EVOLUTION - I love, love, love this damn song and I was SO stoked that they played it. (song hope 3).
  11. EVEN FLOW - Do I even need to say how awesome this was?
  12. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS - [CLASH COVER] Before singing this, Eddie talked about the importance of voting. He didn't once tell you which side he was on (although we know this already) - he just stressed the importance of making your voice heard, voting with your head and making a difference.
  13. NOTHINGMAN - Again, letting the crowd sing with him, it was awesome. He made it evident early in the show that he wanted us all to sing as loud as we wanted, to express ourselves fully and I really think he took it all in. As did the rest of the band - they fed off our excitement.
  14. SUPERSONIC - Another newer song, so fun!
  15. JEREMY - the young teen boys behind us were over the moon excited about this. Their comment may have pissed me off but I'm happy seeing a younger generation loving the music I love and grew up on.
  16. PORCH - great song to end the set!
  1. CRAZY MARY - Mike actually loudly yelled 'YES!' when this song started. He was so excited. It's a song that doesn't get played live, often.
  2. GIVEN TO FLY - This was another song I was dying to hear/see live. Epic!
  3. THE FIXER - love this song!
  4. REARVIEWMIRROR - very excited to hear this
  1. UNTOUGHT KNOWN - I was DYING to hear this live. There is an amazing piano solo in this song and one of the best lyrics ever "See the path cut by the moon, for you to walk on." SO over the moon to hear this.
  2. BLACK - One of my favorite songs from the TEN album.
  3. ALIVE - I had recounted all the songs in my head that we had heard and KNEW this one was bound to come up before they left the stage. Knowing what it's about it's moving to see Eddie sing with such conviction every, single, time he sings this song. Hearing the crowd sing back to him gave me chills during the chorus.
  4. ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD - NEIL YOUNG COVER Eddie said to us... we've been told we have 2 minutes left if we play this fast we have time for one more. They launched right into it and the crowd went nuts! Best. Ending. We Could Have Asked For. EVER!
Mike got a much better shot of the band with his phone, than I did with mine!

I couldn't have asked for a better set list. I really wanted to hear State of Love and Trust, and Oceans but in the end I think they did an amazing job blending together 20 years of music for a 2+ hour set!

I couldn't have asked for a better Anniversary gift from Mike. Or a better person to witness this concert with. I look forward to all the years ahead that we can see PJ together, again.

Next Bucket List Concert - We are going to see The Who in Nashville in December for our Birthdays!
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September 21, 2012

high five for friday!

Yes, I know I already did a Fixation Friday today, but I really felt like linking up for High Five for Friday over at From the Grey Desk Blog too. I'm pretty peppy today and seem to be more prepared than I have been in a while. So here goes!


ONE //
If you read my Fixation Friday this one already makes sense to you. I can't get over the fact that I'm going to see PJ live in concert tomorrow - EEE! So giddy!

TWO //
OH-EM-GEE! Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses. Mind Blown.
I picked up a bag of these while at Target yesterday (2nd trip in two days). I should have resisted but I couldn't and man, these things are too good to be true! I am trying my best not to eat them all. I think I shoved 8 in my pie hole on the way home from the store last night. The texture is a bit off, but the taste is amazing!

NEW SHOES! I have been giving my footwear for the PJ show a lot of thought this week. I know that flip flops are terrible option for a concert in the park. SURE they would be comfortable but I don't plan on sitting far in the back of the crowd. Our plan is to be in the thick of it all and flip flops just wouldn't do. Besides if I get brave and try to crowd surf, I know from the experience of my college roommate that flips flop off while you are surfing. Instead of getting my toes broken by getting stepped on, I tried to wear my Chucks yesterday to "break my feet in for fall shoes". It was a disaster. By the end of the day my feet were killing me. I ran to American Eagle and scooped up these Gold beauties and the rest is happiness for the my feet. I also took time to run to the store and grab some insoles for my heels and feet. I am 100% sure that I will have comfortable shoes for the show. To ensure this I purchased some friction roll on, and I will bring bandaids with me as well.

NOTE: These shoes are from the men's department at - I just loved them too much to pass them up!

I am loving these crisp, cool fall mornings we're having here in the south!!! I have actually had to use my seat warmers the past two mornings because I refuse to RUSH jacket weather. I'm still sporting light cardigans and long sleeve t-shirts right now.

With cooler weather comes less humidity and I'm SO thankful for that. I blew out my hair straight today and with the exception of a few fly aways my hair still looks and feel amazing. Thank you mother nature!

So tell me - what are you tossing out HIGH FIVES for today? Better yet, head over and link up!
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Fixation Friday: Pearl Jam

Fixation Friday: Pearl Jam Edition

Why am I fixated on Pearl Jam today more than ever? I'll tell you. Tomorrow morning Mike and I will be waking up early, getting showered, dressed and hauling our cookies to Atlanta, Georgia to see Pearl Jam live in concert. I'm so over the moon excited about this. I might explode.

You see I've been a Pearl Jam fan since I was in 10th grade. Yes, you read that right my younger readers, I was a teen in the 90's. From the first time hearing Eddie's sweet voice I was hooked. Add to that a teen crush on Eddie and Jeff and you have one obsessed teen. (Note, they're still crush worthy) Oddly enough, being a fan for this long, I've never seen them live in concert. I know, tragedy right?

I'll be honest, PJ hasn't always been in the forefront of my mind when it comes to music. I loved them in high school, and in college, but somewhere along the way after Vitalogy was released, PJ fell off my radar. I blame lack of radio play, and also my ever changing and evolving music taste.

When I was younger I went to one concert in my life, Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth tour. I was probably in middle school at this point. It was either 5th or 6th grade. My friends mother took us and she was the coolest mom ever. Years after that I begged to go to shows NKOTB, Janet Jackson, and on and on, but my mother was never game to go to these shows (can't understand why my mom didn't want to go see RH*CP or Public Enemy) and even more against me going on my own. I was after all only 12 - 15 years old, I can't blame her. In my sadness I missed out on some great shows.

Once in high school - I don't recall trying to go see Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, RHCP or any of my favorite rock acts live. I was also obsessed with rap at this point and I knew my parents would not permit me to go to a rock show alone or a rap show. So I figured asking was pointless.

Fast forward to my years when I could drive, and what I guess you might call a responsible young adult. None of my friends were truly into Pearl Jam, or much alternative rock. Some liked it, but I don't recall a single friend saying "We've gotta go see them live!" Many were still into rap, or at that point country - remember when I said I was experimenting with new music? I really enjoyed most of the country in the late 90's early 2000's you know before it became a bit too Honky Tonk Badonkadonk?  Anybanjo - I went to a ton of live Country shows with my then boyfriend. Too many to count. Then we broke up, and I moved on. Moved away to college, and opened my music horizons more.

After country came the huge surge of Dave Matthews concerts that later turned into Weezer shows. I have been to tons of live shows, but never once have I seen Pearl Jam.

Since we started dating Mike and I have witnessed Velvet Revolver (At least I got to see some of GNR and Scott from Stone Temple Pilots live!), Motley Crüe, and the mecca for me, AC/DC. The chance to see PJ never presented itself until now.

Mike has seen the band 3 times in his life - he was a huge fan for years and never once dropped his loyalty. I'm not saying I wasn't loyal, just not as informed as he was. I feel off the wagon for quite a few years but I have since caught myself up on all that was happening with them while I was away. It was like visiting old friends really. Have you seen PJ20? If you are even remotely a PJ fan, you  MUST see it.

Mike and I were married last year. When we set our date we had no clue that PJ's anniversary of their first show as a band was the date 10.22 - Twenty one years prior to our wedding date. We were shocked, thrilled and floored that we picked that date. Being such big fans it really it home. PJ was also a big part of our day. Mike's gifts from me were PJ related. He and his guys came down the isle to "Man of the Hour" by PJ and he danced the Son and Mother dance with his mom to "Off He Goes" by PJ.  Happily when our wedding video was put together, our videographer knew of our love for the band and used one of Eddie Vedder's solo songs as a backdrop for our "clip video".  It was perfect and had the song been released before our wedding, it would have been our first dance song for sure.

Tomorrow is a bit early for our anniversary, however this is our Anniversary gift to each other. The first anniversary's traditional gift is paper, so our tickets are our gifts to each other, PAPER.  I couldn't be more excited. Since he purchased the tickets I guess I better get him one sweet ass swag bag at the concert complete with tshirts and stickers to repay him.

On our actual anniversary we will celebrate with dinner as traditionally done, but for this weekend we will celebrate like the rockstars we believe we are.


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September 20, 2012

Autumn Bucket List

I had a lot of fun with my Summer Bucket list, so I thought I'd make one for Autumn too. There's more to this season than just football and Halloween right? If you'd like to use the little button, please feel free to start a list of your own - all I ask is that you comment, let me know and link back! I'd love to see what you're interested in doing this season!

Be sure to comment and link back to my blog!
  • Go Camping - Fall camping is the best!
  • Listen to Pearl Jam in the park with my husband
  • Go to Social Security and get my name changed, officially. {yeah, it's been almost a year}
  • Celebrate our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary, Twice!
  • Carve a Pumpkin
  • Decorate for Fall
  • Try a New Soup Recipe
  • Clean Out My Closet
  • Donate unused clothing to Good Will/Salvation Army
  • Go to Tuscaloosa for an Alabama Game & Tailgate - ROLL TIDE!
  • Design Christmas Cards
  • Lose 10 lbs. (for real!) - Blog about progress!
  • Make Pumpkin Bread
  • Go on a hike
  • Purchase the perfect pair of 90's boots and a flannel shirt. I'm on a mission!
Autumn is my all time favorite season! I love pumpkin EVERYTHING. I enjoy the cooler weather, crisp air and fall foliage. I can't get enough of it. So tell me, what are your plans for this season?
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September 18, 2012

Why I Never Say Never...

This past weekend was pretty freaking awesome, if I do say so myself. Mike and I received invitations to the James Beard Foundation Farm to Table to Classroom event being thrown by our Local Marriott and the University of North Alabama to raise money for scholarships for culinary students at the University. I was extremely excited when I was offered two tickets to go to this event, for two reasons. First, I've always wanted to go to a course oriented dinner, especially one like this that had five courses and was paired with wine. Second, the tickets were given to us. One of the sales guys responsible for this client at my company gave me his tickets. I designed the promotional pieces and the menu for this event. I was really happy to get to go, after lusting over the menu for weeks. It also helped Mike and I stick to our budget, free tickets meant $130 / each wasn't sucked out of our bank accounts.

Mike and I are really obsessed with Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations. I'm also sort of obsessed with Andrew Zimmern as well. I know, I know they both eat strange things, but that totally appeals to me. OK, maybe you won't catch me eating bull fries anytime soon, I never say never.

I always swore years ago that I would NEVER eat Lamb. That I don't eat baby animals. That all changed around Valentine's Day this year when for the first time with food, I tossed caution to the wind and tried a bite of Mike's lamb shank, and really, really liked it.

I had prepared myself for the menu for this 5 Course Event. I reminded myself to keep an open mind and to try everything.

The night was great - the event was held under a huge white tent. The tables were decorated with burlap, jars of preserved vegetables, and small wild flower arrangements with rosemary and chili peppers. Everything was lit by candles and one large chandelier covered with vines. It was beautiful. {The picture doesn't do it justice}.
via Mike's Instagram
Unfortunately, the sun set quickly making it difficult to get more pictures, which is a shame, but I will do my best to describe the courses as I remember them.

The Menu

Designed by me. Yes, you did just hear me toot my own horn!
What got me the most excited about this event was that all of the food was farmed, raised, and grown locally here in The Shoals. UNA Cullinary students were directed by the chefs from the 360 Grille at the Marriott here locally. The chefs and students spent a week perfecting their dishes, and pairing them with the perfect wines. When we arrived we notices a few familiar faces over at the tables representing local farms. Our favorite is the couple who grow hydroponic vegetables and fruit. It's some of the best produce in town. They also sat at our table, and I was excited to chat with them over a meal, not just over a counter while purchasing their goods.

Mike was most worried about not liking two things, the Smoked Catfish (here in the South most men like it fried) and he was worried about getting sick trying the Pickled Quail Eggs. He loved both, and even said he thought the Smoked Catfish was his favorite. This was also the first time that Mike had tried Pimento Cheese. Yes, you read that right. Southern boy, boy and raised, with a family that has this cheese regularly on special occasions. I tried it before him. To be fair, this Pimento Cheese knocked the pants off any Pimento Cheese I've ever eaten. Heavy on the onion and the garlic, just like I like it.

Rabbit Sausage - this is why I never say never #1. I really thought I'd never eat Rabbit. I never had a desire to try it, but when in Rome, right? It was tasty. Not gamey at all which was nice. It was served on a cracker with some infused oil and it was really delicious.

Pickled Quail Egg - Again, not sure why I thought this might taste gamey but it didn't. It was literally like a small, fresh, hard boiled egg, but a bit sweet. It was pickled in beet juice. I think I may have to give beets another try (something I've hated since childhood, true story - my mother told me they tasted like candy, so I took a HUGE bite and nearly vomited all over the table. They did NOT taste like candy!)

Crispy Chicken Liver & Local Mushroom Duxelle - Tasty. Again, never had a desire to try chicken liver. It's a huge dish around here. Deep fried chicken livers. No thanks, but I tried it and it was tasty. The Mushroom Duxelle was pretty darn good too. These were easy to eat, served in a spoon, one shot and done.

The Cocktails were great and simple. We had the choice between a light, crisp Prosecco which I really didn't think I'd like, and I loved. And something called a Southern Manhattan which was right up Mike's alley. We sampled both and enjoyed the passed hors d'oeuvres.

Country Style Pork Pate, Pork Rind, Cippolini & Tomato Raisin Panzanella
Paired with a Riesling from Germany
I enjoyed this dish. I wasn't sure what to expect with Pate. I watch a lot of Food Network and Travel Channel shows about food but rarely paid attention when it came to Pate. I was honestly expecting something "cat food like" in texture. This instead was more like meatloaf or sausage, but tender. I honestly can tell you that I've never been a fan of Pork Rinds, but the way it was used was perfect for this course. They had some light greens and used the rind as garnish. It gave this a nice crunch. The tomato raisins were genius!

WINE: I'm not a fan of Riesling, but it was great with this dish, and that's what's important with a pairing, right?

Jack O' Lantern Farms {hydroponic farmers} Vegetable Salad, Bell Chevre Goat Cheese Vinaigrette, with Red Beet Gastrique
Paired with a Chardonnay from California
For a salad this was the bees knees. My favorite bit to this salad were the small cucumbers. They appeared like green plum tomatoes on one side, and tiny watermelons on the other. When I asked the owners of the farm what they were they informed me they were gerkin cucumbers. Adorable, tart and really really good. I know odd thing to fixate on but I had NEVER seen that before. And the beet gastrique, I wanted to lick the plate clean! But I didn't.

WINE: Not a huge fan of Chardonnay either I'm more of a Pinot G, or a very dry crisp white girl. But it was tasty.

Beef Duo - Seared Beef Heart and Braised Tongue Brunswick Stew with Sweet Corn and Field Peas.
Paired with Cabernet Sauvignon from California
I think this was my favorite course of the night. Yes you read that right. tongue and heart, my favorite. I never in a million years thought I'd ever, ever eat this. And here I was... on my second organ of the night (remember the liver earlier) and eating something that could taste me back. It's crazy. I wasn't a huge fan of the texture of the tongue, but the flavor of the stew was unbelievable. Mike and I both agreed, at the same time it totally reminded us of a beef, vegetable stew our mother's had made us when we were kids. It made me miss my mom, and I savored it that much more. The part that made eating the heart easier was that it was chopped up into pieces the same size as the peas and corn. It probably also helped that the lights were dim, but given the chance I'd try it again.

WINE: I love reds and Cab Sauv is my 2nd favorite red. Delicious.

Lamb Crepinette, Shiitake locally grown with stewed local tomatoes, lamb jus and frisee salad
Paired with Zinfandel from California
This was my second favorite meal. It sort of reminded me of a crab cake the way the lamb was shredded and presented. I really also liked that the stewed tomatoes were cherry tomatoes, still on the vine.

We were sitting with the woman who owned the farm that raised the lamb, and the vegetables so it was fun to hear her stories of moving here from California and being happier here in our small town that she ever had been in her entire life.

WINE: Zinfandel is my favorite red wine. It's rather full bodied, and seems thick but I love it. This sample was amazing.

Butternut Squash Tart Tatin, Apple Chutney, Spiced Honey Caramel with Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
Paired with Rheinhessen from Germany
This dessert was absolutely amazing!!! The Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta made my knees buckle. I was so stuffed at this point I'm shocked I ate it all but I couldn't let it go to waste!

WINE: Too sweet, like sickly sweet - I get that it was a dessert wine but I wasn't a fan. At all.

I want to do this again. I loved having the different courses and the different wines. Mike and I don't get to do this often and it was a blast. As two budding foodies at heart, I really feel like this expanded our tastebuds and minds. I'm really looking forward to the next event. Fingers crossed they will have another one next year.

In the end, the event, and everyone involved raised over $10,000 for the UNA Culinary Scholarship fund. It was moving to see all these kids doing something they were passionate about, and getting a helping hand in the process.
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September 14, 2012

fixation friday: celebrity sighting

I thought it might be time to bring back an old friend, Fixation Fridays. It's been a while since I've done one of these and I sort of miss it. Since I've been looking for ways to hold myself more accountable for blogging and sharing my experiences I thought this might be the best way to get back into the groove of writing.

For those of you that are new here - Fixation Fridays has always been a way for me to share what I'm currently coveting or can't get my mind off of. It was a weekly staple for D2BD, and I want to bring it back to Turned up to Eleven!

This week I thought I'd discuss the Civil Wars.
I will admit I'm newly on the CW bandwagon. It's not that I ever disliked them, I just hadn't truly discovered their talent. Here locally the Wars are a pretty big deal. John Paul White is some what of a local boy, and the duo is planning on coming here soon to play a live show at our small, local community theatre. I'm still kicking myself for not getting tickets.

Like I said I'm new to the CW fan base, but today you would have thought inside my little head that I was a fan for years, or 17. As Mike and I stood in line at our favorite BBQ joint, Bunyan's BBQ getting our lunch, a few customers ahead of us in line was none other than John Paul White. Getting a bag of BBQed goodness to take with him. I'm assuming back to the studio - because in my mind that's what he's here for.. but maybe he's just visiting?

It took me a moment before I realized it was him. He looks just like a regular everyday guy, with long hair, a bit of salt and pepper through out, and tattoos, that would be hanging out in our small town. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks who it was.

I tugged on Mike's shirt and whispered "That's John Paul White isn't it?" Trying to be quiet. If you know me I don't whisper very well... it's more of a hushed yell. I'm shocked Mr. White didn't hear me. Mike confirmed it was him. I then started to have a giddy melt down in my own head.

I wish I could tell you I walked over to him, all suave and calm and said hello, told him I loved his music and asked him to take a photo with me... but I didn't. I clam up in these type of situations. True story, you know the lead singer of Cobra Starship, Gabe? He was formerly the lead singe of a band called Midtown - yeah, he walked right by me one night after a Midtown show in DC. I was close enough to grab him, and I said nothing. SUCH a chicken. Let's hope if I ever am graced to be close to someone like Eddie Vedder or Angus Young I make a better impression.

So yeah... I grabbed my cell phone and instead of taking a picture - that would be rude! I texted my one buddy back home who loves the band - and let her know what was happening. Via internet messages we exchanged excitement like two little high school girls and all was right in our worlds.

I'm sorry you don't have a picture of Mr. White to gaze at, but how about a peace offering. I did take a picture of my lunch and it was amazing... so I'll let you oogle over that!

*yes it's smashed and upside down, I eat it that way and it's served smashed.
via my instagram feed

Happy Weekend!!!

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September 07, 2012

high five for friday! 9.7.2012

How excited are you that it's Friday? I actually went to work with a smile on my face knowing I could totally own today!  I am linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk for her weekly High Five for Friday ritual. So here goes... my top 5 from the week!

link up!

ONE //
I was really excited when my small bag of goodies from American Eagle arrived today. Truth be told I really wanted it to arrive yesterday so I'd have a fun new "college color day" gear to wear. I purchased a little something for me, and a little something for Mike and I to share. {both via}

TWO //
This week marks the official start of NLF football's regular season. I'm so excited to see how my Steelers stack up agains the Broncos and Mr Manning! As you can tell it's pretty much football all across the board here, right now.

My work is getting back to regular hours and while I will miss the overtime, I won't miss the exhaustion I've been feeling. Maybe next week I can finally get back to working out on the regular.

While it's still hot as hell here in the South, the anticipation of Fall is in the air. I'm so looking forward to cool nights, grilling out and not sweating, relaxing on the front porch with a blanket or hoodie on and hopefully lots of camping trips. No bugs, and cold weather is great for camping!

Tonight is First Fridays here in my small town and it's a big night for the locals. Lots of artists will sell their art, jewelry and wares and I can't wait to walk around and take part in it all. Word on the street is my office downtown will have it's doors open and I'm looking forward to seeing all they have on sale. {My office is in a different location - with the printing plant, so sometimes it's fun to see how the other half of my company lives and works). I also love that buying local is made very easy the first friday of EVER month here in small town Alabama.

I am so ready for the weekend - I hope you have a wonderful one planned for yourselves! I'm ready to relax, scream for my teams and enjoy some time with my husband. It's been long over due with all the hours I've been putting in for work.

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September 06, 2012

happy blog-iversary 9.6.2009

Happy Blog-iversary to Turned Up to Eleven {formerly Dare to be Domestic}! Wow,  it's hard to believe on this day, 3 years ago I started this blog. Through it's small life it's changed, evolved, sat dormant and then got rediscovered again. I've enjoyed the journey so far and look forward to what the future holds for this little puppy. It's time to celebrate!

Celebrating like I'm a Beatle, on a Thursday - via

When I started blogging I was into improvement, cooking and wanting to express that with Dare to be Domestic. After a year or so I started to feel painted into a corner. I often felt like I wanted to write about more than keeping a nice home, eating or making delicious treats and while I loved the name I just felt stuck. I also discovered the name was already used - I should have researched more before declaring my blog name, but I was young, (figuratively, not literally) and a newbie to this and didn't think to take time to google search.


I realized I was more than just a woman, wanting to write about stuff I do around my home. I write about my life and while Dare to be Domestic was a fun moniker it didn't feel very lifestyle open, but a bit too specific for my ever changing opinions, growth and exploration through life.

I took to brainstorming and researching new names. The young (again, not literally) grasshopper had learned a lesson. Through my constant list making, and brainstorming, Turned up to Eleven was born and while I'm still trying to get used to this new space I feel like for now, it fits me. I try to live life to the fullest, I try not to waste time (but it still happens) and I try my best to always live life turned up to eleven.

My new blog takes my love for movies, my love for music, cooking, the great outdoors, and my lust for living life and tosses them all together.

I look forward to this next leg of my journey in blogging and growing this place into something more than it currently is. If you're still a follower/subscriber from the start of my blog, I'm so happy and thankful you are still here. If you are new, welcome, relax and stay a while - and if you're still on the fence I promise to try to do something to totally blow your mind soon!

For now let's celebrate Formerly Dare to be Domestic and now Turned up to Eleven is now three years old, and anxious to start the rest of it's life with all of you, and so am I!

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September 04, 2012

end of summer (summer bucket list update)

While it isn't officially Fall, to me Labor Day weekend always signifies the end of summer. The days will still be hot here in Alabama, but I can already tell the sun has started to set sooner, the evenings are a bit cooler and I couldn't be more happy. Since summer is coming to an end I thought it was time to update you on my Summer Bucket List and how far I got with knocking items off it. So here goes - my final Summer Bucket List Update!


Previously Achieved List Items from June

No. 2 : See Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters this summer.
Tickets have been purchased for Pearl Jam for their September show in ATL. I am over the moon excited. We nixed going to the two day event - I am disappointed I won't get to see the Foo Fighters but we discovered that The Who will be coming close by and we are going to see that show as a birthday gift to each other. The Foo Fighters will tour again, but The Who is a limited engagement so we want to jump on it while we can. I am not saying that The Who will never tour again after this time around, but the odds are not in my favor that it will happen so we gotta get them in while the getting is good! I am truly dying to see Pearl Jam. I never have, so I'm really happy to get to see band that I have been listening too for as long as I have!

No. 3: Visit Friends and Father back home
July 4th week we spent an entire week in my home state, Maryland. It was awesome. It was way too hot but the good times, good friends and good eats and time with my father made it all worth it. (Worth every sweaty, dehydrating minute!)

No. 5: Get all you can eat steamed crabs
No trip to Maryland is right without this. It's a bit depressing in the winter to visit and KNOW that you can't have these delicious buggers! Thankfully I got my fill of seafood when I was home. We also got to dish on the most amazing crab bombs - HUGE lump crab meat, no filler. They are crab cakes the way the good Lord intended them to be eaten. I'm ruined for life!

No. 13 See Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Prometheus, Batman Rises.
We didn't go see Abe Lincoln, we heard many horrible reviews. I might watch it on pay-per-view but honestly I hear it really wasn't great and I don't want to have another book ruined by a movie (Still on the fence about Hunger Games - please don't give me crap for it, I loved the book and only felt meh about the movie. Visuals were stunning, but the story, felt too rushed and if you hadn't read the book, you'd be TOTALLY lost IMO. Well, maybe the 2nd one will make me feel better). Prometheus, saw it, really liked it. Batman Rises - I die. Words can't describe it... I laughed, I cried, I wanted to watch it again IMMEDIATELY after the credits were over. I can't wait for this to be on DVD!  We also went to a few other movies this summer and invested in a $17.00 popcorn bucket that yields $5.00 refills after you do the initial purchase. It's an investment... too bad we haven't been back to the movies to get good use of it yet!

No. 15 Achieve not getting a single sunburn this summer.
Totally botched this one - I ended up getting a burn on my shoulder and my scalp while in Orange Beach, AL. My chest got a bit pink too. I blame sweating, and I also blame my beach bag rubbing off the block on my shoulder. Next year I will bring 50+ for day one, then cut down to 30 for day two. I hate getting burned. It totally sucks, and I am really fearful of skin cancer, more so than wrinkles. At least wrinkles tell a story, and I know I will have them one day - if I can combat both, it's a win/win for me!

No. 17 Do a bar crawl
This is a half achievement - Mike, myself and my pals went out for an evening of fun in my home stomping grounds Frederick, MD with the full intention to hop bars. When we arrived at the first bar, we met up with old HS friends we hadn't planned on seeing, the DJ played all kinds of music that we loved in our years forming our friendships and decided that it was fate that we were there that night. We stayed, danced to old school rap music and enjoyed our night... well most of it. Half way through the evening the bar got a bit hostile. Fights started to break out, dirty looks were thrown and we all decided we were getting too old for this shizz and left. I thank Mike for being my DD that night - usually when we are home I am the prime driver since I know how to get from point A to B the best, but he really came through helping my besties to our cars and driving us home safely. It's ok to play young sometimes, but being an adult and responsible is truly where it's at these days.

No. 18 Find a new workout routine
I was getting sick of Turbo Fire - it's fun but repeats a lot. At the end of the summer I decided to take on P90X again. It isn't "new" but it's been a while since I've done the workouts. I like to think I'm "recycling" or "renewing" my workout. I've started to sub in some Turbo Fire workouts for cardio. I'm not a huge fan of Plyometrics, it kills my  knees and I can only do Yoga X so many times. Kempo I love, but the other two I have subbed in Turbo Fire workouts that are similar in length. The first week kicked my butt, bad. I was SO sore but so happy to feel the "good pain". I am sure next week, and the week following will be just as hard when I start up again after my work hours return to normal.

No. 20 Make a Key Lime Cheesecake
I can't recall if I discussed this but I made it and it was EPIC! Everyone loved it and the only thing I'd change is not using cool whip on the top. Since I typed that, I realize that I did talk about this before in my first update post - I remember bitching about cool whip being stored in the frozen section, so stupid. The whip, the whip is stupid, not me.

No. 27 Walk three nights a week with our dog, June
We were on a roll with this before vacation. After vacation it stopped happening, mostly because it was insanely hot here. Like sweat your booty off in the dark hot, redic! Now that the evenings are cooling down, we are going to start up again. Mark my words!

No. 28 Embrace my wavy hair
I did this at the beach. It wasn't really successful but it wasn't a total flop either. I had no time to do a blow out so I tried my best to use a curling iron for touch ups and just go with it on the beach. Buns, braids and frizz serum were my BFFs for the trip.

No. 30 Shop the local farmers market frequently
When I made this one, I didn't really think about the fact that the market doesn't really get hopping until the crops come in. We've been once, but to be fair it's only started really getting packed in the past 4 weeks. We got great okra, which we need to finish off and lots of tomatoes. We also stopped by our local hydroponic farmers market and scored some of the best avocado I've ever had, ever! I will definitely be heading back there soon for more!

No 42 Shop locally but frugally
I haven't done a ton of shopping, in order to conserve money but I did stop by Alabama Outdoors which is a semi local, at least state local store. They had a grand opening while we were at the beach and I was anxious to see the new location. It's beautiful but I feel like it lost a bit of its charm being moved out of an old, broken down house to a nice, clean, shopping downtown location. That being said, you can tell the employees love it, and are so stoked so that made me happy for them. As we browsed the gear the sales associate talked to us, she was super sweet. I decided to purchase myself a 32 oz water bottle to reuse. They had some in thick, good, healthy plastic for $10.99 which is a lot more reasonable than I've seen anywhere else locally (Target's $20 bottles can suck it)... I snagged two free AL Outdoor stickers and as she finished ringing us up, she asked if we wanted tshirts. Uh, yes please! We scored two, nice, AL Outdoor t's they were giving away at the grand opening the weekend before, a great shopping bag that's reusable with North Face on it and walked out with smiles on our faces. THIS is why I love shopping locally and supporting our vendors here in our small town. They are friendly, attentive and give a damn about their customers. Walking in the mall, I can stop in about 8 stores and not once have someone say "How are you?" We've cut off Walmart and probably have only visited once in the past 4 months (I needed make-up and lets be frank it's the cheapest in town for what I needed)... Target I love, Walmart I hate. We've stopped buying our groceries at Walmart and even though we make 3 stops now (Target/Aldi/Local Grocery Stores) we aren't spending more money, we are spending less - Walmart is too much junk under one roof. I have other personal reasons for dropping Walmart - they are building 2 more locations in a less than 20 mile radius in our area, and I hate them for that. This will result in mom and pop business in going under and it totally angers me to no end. Ok I gotta get off this soap box, I'm totally off topic now!

There are quite a few we didn't get to knock off the list - be it due to time, money, effort - but I feel good about all I accomplished in these summer months. I think I'll try to make myself a Fall Bucket list. Being an adult means having a lot of schedules in your life, lots of stuff you have to do. Your life becomes routine and having little to look forward to really makes you a grumpy old woman. I found that having this list gave me goals, and it gave me something to look forward to doing. Events can be small but still be fun, especially when you're crossing off a list. I love lists, I love crossing stuff off them even more!

If you've made it this far, thanks for listening, reading and I hope if you made your own bucket list that you rocked yours out! Stay tuned, I think a Fall Bucket list is right around the corner!

Happy Week everyone!!!
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