Archives for August 2014

in defense of tea drinkers.

I never thought it was a big deal. Comments in passing, here and there, but nothing crazy. Nothing, that is, until I got to the working world, where it seems I’ve committed a cardinal sin.

What’s my crime, you may ask?

I don’t like hate coffee. Not in an “oh, no, I’m okay” way – in a terrible, can’t sip, can’t smell, can’t-have-tiramisu-but-really-wish-I-could way.

(Get your gasps out of the way now.)

It’s not that I haven’t tried – trust me, I’ve tried. Starbucks, Keurigs, even mixing half hot chocolate and coffee, at the suggestion of some coworkers. It’s just not going to happen for me. So, here I am: forever cursed to be the outcast of the thousands of Pumpkin Spice Latte Instagrams come fall (OR NEXT WEEK NOW, WHAT), the pariah of trendy working millennials.

Or am I?

Let’s backtrack to the title a bit. While coffee may not be my cup of tea (get it?), I love, love tea. Most kinds, flavors and types of brewing are okay with me. A few months back, while on a binge-purchasing rampage (call it what it is, y’all), E and I wandered into Teavana after being coerced by the nice sample-people outside. I had never really understood what Teavana was – other than that place in the mall with samples no one really stops for because who wants hot tea while they’re shopping – but was feeling adventurous. As I know it’s a tea most places have, I asked them what about their best Chai. They proceeded to mix two flavors together, hand them over…and whoa.

My favorite tea & infuser

There is nothing like freshly-brewed loose leaf tea. Totally fresh-tasting, clean, naturally sweetened – I was in love. I ended up a few dollars poorer, but walked out with a new blend of tea to drink in the mornings while those coffee-drinkers enjoyed their K-Cups.

So, where do you start? It’s a little intimidating trying to drop in to the world of loose-leaf tea, but the associates at our local Teavana were so helpful. I wanted an infuser I could take on the go, so I use the Austin Glass Infuser Mug (pictured above). It’s glass, so it’s fragile, but a great mug that is easy to use. Put the right amount of tea in the infuser – it’s different for every kind, but the container should tell you how much to use, drop it in the water, wait a hot second (literally) then you’ve got yourself a great drink for morning…or 3:00 when you can’t stare at your computer screen anymore without gluing your eyes open.

Chai Tea Blend

If only scents could be sent through the internet.

If you’re looking to get into loose leaf (or just love tea), I highly suggest it. My current favorite is still that first batch of Maharaja Chai Oolong/Samurai Chai mix.

Any other tea suggestions I’m missing out on?

tastes to try: canoe

Birthdays are great, aren’t they? While I’m not one to make a big fuss over them, it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family and do a lot of good eating (and drinking).

Mine was earlier this month, but let’s rewind a few weeks before. Cue the incessant “where do you want to eat?”s and the menu-searching for weeks, right? Isn’t that a quintessential part of the nice-dinner-search?

Thank me later: I’ve got the answer to your next date night/parents in town/#treatyoself meal (if you haven’t been already, since I realize I’m behind the crowd on this one) for my first “tastes to try” feature – Canoe. A lovely restaurant with great food is nice, but the atmosphere and gardens (yep) surrounding this place make it something else entirely.

Canoe

Does it not look absolutely perfect, y’all? This is a view of the back patio and it’s just as sweet as it appears (including a not-pictured river on the right side of this…and a riverside bar).

Back to me: I picked this place pretty easily for a birthday dinner after hearing rave reviews from many, many people (thanks, Erica!). We got a Friday reservation and we headed on over – to a perfect night. Our server was fabulous and so helpful, even among my nonexistent knowledge of game.

Since it was a birthday, we decided to try…well, everything.

We started with the caesar salad (boring, that wasn’t me) and crab cake appetizers, because if crab cakes are on the menu and you don’t order them, you’re doing it wrong. The salad was a salad, but the crab was perfect – not overloaded with breading and topped over some cabbage slaw.

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Photo cred to the other half of the table – thanks, Andy!

Now the real meat (pun intended) – the main course. I had promised myself (and my foodie friends) I would be adventurous and not waste a great meal on pasta, as I usually would. New year, new age and some new branching out: I ended up ordering the Slow Roasted Carolina Rabbit. Guys…it was fabulous. Rabbit & swiss chard over bacon ravioli (yes, you heard me correctly) and sweet potato with a candied garlic sauce. Our server told us they’ve been serving it for 19 years and I can see why. Andrew ordered the Roasted Springer Mountain Chicken over a grilled corn and basil risotto with (his favorite part) the spiced green tomato relish. Both awesome, wonderful and great portion sizes.

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Rabbit on left, chicken on right.

Now, you might think we’ve seen it all…but what kind of birthday meal would it be without dessert? These pictures need no explanation other than the most basic: popcorn sundae and peach crisp with honey ice cream (yes, they even included a special birthday note).

Popcorn SundaePeach Crisp

Needless to say, we couldn’t get close to finishing them both, but still so good.

Overall, a wonderful culinary experience for my taste buds and a great atmosphere for a sweet night. Already looking forward to my next visit — I hear they have a mean brunch, and you know I’m not missing out on that!

Austin to LA

Between road-tripping across the country, moving to a new city and starting a new job I have been a little (ok, a lot) MIA on the H&R-sphere.

It’s officially starting to hit me that L.A. is now my city and I couldn’t be happier about this new chapter. But before I start down all-things LA on here, I wanted to share a few highlights from the rest of my road trip.

AUSTIN, TX

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I was so excited to get to Austin not only because it’s such a great city, but because two of my best friends lived there. Alexis is an ATX-native and was in the same sorority as me and K at UGA. Laura was another UGA-bestie and she moved to Austin in January this year.

Saturday morning Alexis and I started the day off with a little kick-boxing action at Fight Club – a gym that she opened in Austin. We did it all through college, and when graduation came and Alexis moved back to Austin she brought her passion with her and we are so proud of her. Check it out if you’re ever there and are in need of a serious work out!

After our late breakfast we headed over to Town Lake and went paddle boarding, and it was awesome. I had wanted to try paddle boarding for a long time now, but it’s usually done in the ocean or a bay and I’m terrified of the ocean (aka sharks). I thought the hard part of paddle boarding would be trying to balance on the board, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Turns out the hard part isn’t balancing, but the paddling that turns it into a real workout. There was something so serene about being in the middle of a busy city while also being outside and enjoying nature.

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Paddle-boarding on Town Lake!

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The next adventure of the day: Lick. Guys – the ice cream here is amazing. Between Lex and I, I’m pretty sure we tried nine different flavors before we each narrowed it down. I had the dark chocolate olive oil & sea salt and the tangy toasted coconut, while Lex had peach thyme & goat cheese and land of milk & honey. Definitely an instant Austin-fave.

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I was too busy enjoying my ice cream to actually get a picture of it.

That evening I met up with Laura and we ventured over to Rainey Street – more of a hip, ‘trendy’ neighborhood. We ate dinner at Banger’s which was an outdoor biergarten and gourmet hot dog restaurant. I’m not a huge hot dog or sausage person and Laura is a vegetarian, but both of our meals were excellent. We started with Wisconsin cheese curds, which I had never had but Laura raved about them, and they did not disappoint. 

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Can you tell I like food yet?

The ambiance of this place was so fun and laid back. I could spend hours out there under the string lights with a Austin-brewed beer and listening to music. We had an eventful night out at the bars on the famous sixth street and we said our (sad) goodbyes because early the next day, my parents and I hit the road once again headed to Arizona. 

The rest of the roadtrip consisted of a lot of this:

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Walt and Jesse – are you out there?

Miles and miles… and miles later this was a happy site:

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When we crossed the California state line it started to hit me that we were headed to my new home, in my new state. We eventually exited the 10, pulled into the apartment and Drew and I were finally reunited in our new home 🙂 We rapidly unloaded the car and fled to the nearest sports bar to watch team USA. 

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#ibelieve

Next post: my L.A. bucket list for the remainder of the summer. But let’s be honest – does summer in LA ever actually end? Stay tuned!

xo,

E

august moodboard: what i’m loving.

Can you guys believe it’s August? It might be the most overused phrase in recent memory, but it’s true when they say the time passes faster every year.

I’m expecting some great things from this month, however. Birthday month (we’re old), summer and only one more month standing between me and a trip to California to visit the other half of this crew (yay!). They’re going to be some busy, wonderful weeks and I’m feeling good about it.

Time for a first-of-the-month moodboard with what I’m loving this August:

[1 / anthropologie] [2/ solebich] [3/ etsy] [4/ pinterest] [5/ vlinspiratie] [6/ amber interiors] [7/ natasha oakley] [8/ food & wine] [9/ diy balamoda]

I am dying for that Anthro tee and a lighted patio to sit on. Summer is for simple, sweet things – stripes, braids, calm colors and mismatching. Live in something comfortable this summer, enjoy the outdoors and get ready to vacation next month. On another note – I really need to learn that braid. Anyone have any good tutorials?

What are you guys inspired by this month?