Friday, October 21, 2016

"I've seen too much love to give up hope" -Justin Joslin

I have been friends with Justin for 18 years now. Since I have known him I've known his love for music. Justin is such a talented musician and I have been lucky to be a fan of his throughout his musical journey.

On March 11 Justin released his second album, The River. It is FANTASTIC, he has mastered the craft of songwriting! His cd release show was magical, I ain't too proud to admit it, I cried. There was just something so moving about his performance and hearing those songs for the first time. Well, except for "Love you Wrong" which I heard for the first time on Jake FM. I heard it while I was at work and ran over to the radio and turned it up and yelled to everyone "hey! I know this guy!".  Every time I have seen him live since the release of The River I have been pleasantly caught off guard by any slight change in a song or intro and it seems like he just gets better and better. Justin is the salt of the earth. He puts his heart into every song he sings. He is also pretty much the nicest guy I know. He is the kind of guy that after just meeting you and he found out you were moving he would be automatically be offering to help you, he is giving and caring to his core. If you're familiar with Justin, chances are you've met his wife, Sutton. If you don't know Justin personally but have heard his music, you know his wife, Sutton. There are glimmers of Sutton woven into almost every song of his, and if you know know why. People often say "oh they are so beautiful inside and out" and maybe they kind of mean it or maybe its just that phrase you say to be nice, but when you are talking about Sutton Joslin it couldn't be more true. She is so kind and so genuine and drop dead gorgeous.  I'm probably starting to sound a little "single white female" over here, but if you know the Joslin's you understand where I am coming from.

So when I found out he was playing at The Basement for an intimate show with their summer concert series I texted my go-to sitter, Grandma Butkus, and made plans to go. It was a show in a basement in the middle of summer in got steamy down there. Justin and Lance Kuehn sweat their asses off while Chuck and I danced and sang along to the songs we love and have come to know by heart. I could go into great detail about what I love about all of Justin's songs, but to save myself from sounding like too much of a super fan I'll let you check him out for yourself. Here are some pictures I took at his show at the Basement. My parting tip, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by life throw on "The River (Reprise)" and it will make you feel like you can take on anything...."come on bury your troubles in the water".

"I was born chasing the sun"

"I've lived through my midnight hour, now I'm tryin' to take it day by day"

"through the storm and the pain, I've got this hope"

Want to hear Justin for yourself?
instagram: jdjoslin

Did you know Sutton does nails too? book your appointment!
instagram: suttonjnails

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Traci and Eliana

I met Traci in 4th grade. Putnam City moved their district lines and she had to start going to Windsor Hill Elementary then, lucky me she was in my class. I can literally talk for hours about our friendship and how wonderful she is, but I'll try to keep it a bit short and sweet. Traci is an AMAZING friend. She was the point guard for my middle school basketball team (my short ass self was a post believe it or not), She helped me unpack when I moved into my house, She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and she had her baby girl 83 days after I had mine. Traci is one of those people who tries something once and is instantly better at it than you, even though you've been trying for months. We played basketball, she always scored more points than me. I made almost straight A's in high school, she was a get the point. Though, I may have her beat when it comes to cooking, because I don't think I've actually ever eaten anything she has made before. Hell, she could probably read the recipe for homemade croissants once and then totally nail it. Everyone should have a Traci in their lives, a lifelong friend who you may go months without seeing but when you do, you haven't skipped a beat.

Traci has moved to Houston. She has just become a dentist (of course) and has found a great practice in Houston where she will work alongside 3 other dentists. When she told me I flipped. Houston?!??!! It's so far, its so hot! Once my freak out session mellowed out I was able to be happy for her and her baby girl and what the future holds for them. Looks like my future holds a trip to Houston. As Eliana's first birthday was approaching and Traci's moving date becoming near I knew I had to capture them together one last time. Traci agreed and braved the summer heat for a quick evening photo shoot. Here are a few of my favorites from that session:

Traci, I know you will conquer anything you set your mind to and make it look easy as you always have. Thank you for being such a sister to me and saving my ass in dodgeball since 4th grade. I hope Houston knows how lucky it is to be gaining you two. Love you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beer Margaritas

It's summer, it's hot, bring on the tequila! This is one of those drinks that is great for a crowd, summer cookout or father day dinner celebration (like when I made them in these pictures). I absolutely love to entertain or go to parties or get togethers and this drink is perfect because you can make a big pitcher of them to serve up and you can enjoy the party, that way you aren't having to hand make every cocktail. What is great about beer margaritas is you can make them your own style and change up your flavor combinations. For example I've made raspberry beer margaritas and pomegranate ones before, but this time I stuck with my favorite original way.

First, in your pitcher add frozen limeade. This is a step where you could use any frozen juice you wanted to switch up the flavor. Though I'll stick with using limeade this time.

Then add your fresh lime and orange juice. I mean have you seen a bigger orange?!? Thanks whole foods! I love the fresh flavor and tartness that comes from the orange juice, but if you wanted you could always use triple sec (orange flavored liqueur)  for a more traditional margarita flavor. After you've got all your fresh fruit juices added then you can add the star of the show...tequlia.

Let me warn you, I've found that when it comes to tequila you get what you pay for. So I'm not saying to use Patron, but just think twice when picking out which kind you want to use. I add about 8-10oz for this size pitcher, if you are using something larger add more tequila. I like to pour the tequila into the frozen limeade container, to help me measure and to also help get any last little limeade drops I may have left behind.

Then you can add beer. I think a nice light Mexican beer is perfect for these. My favorite is Tecate. Stir well and you are ready to serve!

 Go ahead and slice up a lime and get a little plate of salt so you can salt the rim of your glass and serve it with a lime slice. It is that extra little detail that makes this drink extra yummy. There is just something so refreshing about this fun spin on a margarita, just in time for a summer party!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Kale Chips

I love kale. I know kale was so 2014 but I've joined the bandwagon and I love it! I love to sneak it into foods and dice it up into just about anything. It is kind of like spinach and can be hidden when it needs to be. Now kale chips, are a whole new awakening. It is something I feel like after much tweaking I've finally gotten good at. If you want a salty crispy healthy super food (see my trendy words I'm using) then you've come to the right place.

Lets get started.

First you want to wash your kale. I've made the mistake of just lightly rinsing it before and it actually can be quite sandy. So take the extra time and rinse each leaf. After you wash it you can start to de stem them. You can do this with a knife or you can do my favorite method and pull the leafy part away from the base and essentially rip the stem out. Pretty handy.

Once you have de stemmed you can tear the kale into pieces. Think bite size, its ok if some are small and some are big it makes them all the more chip-like. Get all your kale into a large mixing bowl. This is where my trial and error starts to come into play. I like to add fresh dill to my kale chips. I grow dill when its in season, it it one of the herbs I surprisingly don't kill, but if you don't have fresh dried dill is actually really flavorful so don't feel inadequate. Mince up your dill (or sprinkle a couple teaspoons if you are doing dried dill) and add it to your bowl. Next, is what I feel is the most important step. I have eaten a lot of sub par kale chips to get to where I am today and I think this next step has something to do with it. You'll want to coat your kale chips lightly with oil, I say lightly but it is important that it is an even coating. I use extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil. I think they offer a great balance of flavor, fat and freshness. Remember you'll just want to lightly coat the kale to keep it from getting greasy. After you've got it coated with oil its time to season. This is the fun part because you can literally use any combination you want. I like to go with a ranch style flavor with a touch of heat. I like to use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and chipotle chili powder (this is the heat but also adds a great smokiness). Be sure you are stirring while you season so that the kale is evenly seasoned. Spread it out onto a sheet pan and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

I LOVE a crispy kale chip and so I always look for a bit of brown on the edges to know when they are done. Once you let them cool and try one there is no turning back. You get the fresh dill flavor and smokey chipotle with a great salty finish. If you can get them crispy enough they will literally melt in your mouth. I love taking these to a gathering because you can make a huge batch of them for a low cost and they go quick!