10.27.2013

Zac Brown Band at the Hollywood Bowl

The last concert I went to was the Dave Matthews Band in 2005. A number of years ago...... A friend was getting married and I was in her wedding. She was a great bride and the only rule was we needed to wear black. I was living in San Luis Obispo at the time and went to San Francisco to visit her and shop for a dress. As luck would have it, her soon to be husband had a job that got tickets to a number of concerts and the weekend I was up there they had tickets to the Dave Matthews Band. We arrived and the opening act was the Blackeyed Peas! I was a fan of both bands and danced all night. We had great tickets and it was a fabulous show.

After that the only concerts I went to were "Concerts in the Park". No big deal. They weren't on my radar. So I was a little surprised when T called me on Thursday as I was driving to a conference to ask if I wanted to see Zac Brown Band at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday. He explained that he liked the Zac Brown Band and had never been to a show at the Hollywood Bowl. I hadn't either. After a little discussion the plan was to see if he could get tickets and if so we would drive to LA when I got back from my conference. The traffic gods smiled on me and I was home by 4pm on Friday. T got home soon after and we headed into LA.

If you don't live in Southern California you might not think anything of this, but if you understand LA traffic, you would feel like we did; that this drive could take up to four hours. We were ready to sit in traffic and were amazed when we made it to the Hollywood Bowl in about an hour and a half. We then parked in Lot D and made our way into the bowl. There were people picnicking and tailgating as we walked over. Lots of cowboy boots and cowboy hats. As this was a last minute adventure we didn't really plan for a picnic or even really understand how the Hollywood Bowl worked, but we quickly learned.

There are places to eat, drink, and order food in the Bowl area once you have entered. We surveyed our options and went with a burger and fires and some beer. Prices were beyond Disneyland expensive but they had some good beer options and it was the Hollywood Bowl, so we kind of expected it.

T had gotten our tickets on Stubhub and done some research when looking at his options. We were in J1 Row1 Seats 1&3. What that translates to is front row, aisle seats, in the wooden bleachers behind the box seats. When we found them we were very happy. They were great seats!

There were two opening acts that were okay. They are on the Zac Brown label, Southern Ground and were the AJ Ghent Band and Dugas. As these bands were playing more and more people kept coming in. I think the show might have been sold out. It seemed packed by the time the Zac Brown Band came on.

When the show started the band sounded really good. I wanted to jump up and dance but felt self-conscious because no one else in our section was standing. Then I started having this sinking feeling that maybe the Hollywood Bowl wasn't the kind of place you got to stand up and enjoy your concert. Maybe I would have to sit through it.....

I kept looking around and seeing different groups of people sitting and then other groups standing. I didn't want to stand in front of the people behind me so for the first three songs I stayed seated and kind of danced in my seat. Then the band did a cover of Metallica's Enter Sandman and the place exploded! Everyone was on their feet dancing and singing. From that moment on the concert was outstanding. The band was excellent live, better than any album I heard. They had guests and covered a few songs. One of the musicians proposed to his girlfriend on stage and Sarah Dugas from Dugas sang At Last as they danced together. The trumpet player Rashawn Ross from the Dave Matthews band joined them for a cover of Under the Table and Dreaming and Jason Mraz sang two songs with the group. Their encore ended with the Devil went down to Georgia and T and I very impressed with the Hollywood Bowl and the Zac Brown Band! It was an amazing night!

 

10.21.2013

October Pumpkin Patch Visit

The last time I visited a Pumpkin Patch was in my college days in 2001. I remember the day well. I was living in San Luis Obispo and T and my friend Betsy (we ended up being friends because we were both named Elizabeth!) and I went to the Avila Valley Barn. It was a Saturday in October. We were all photography majors, so we went looking for pumpkins and photos. The weather was crisp but warm. The afternoon light created a warm glow across the pumpkin patches. We took a hay ride through the farm and picked our pumpkins. It was a great day and I was happy to spend it with T and Betsy.

As a child I have memories of visiting a pumpkin patch. I grew up in Riverside, CA and the Riverside of my youth was very much geared toward agriculture. Our housing track was surrounded by orange groves, my parents had a spectacular garden, and a little place called Dois Farm is were we would get our pumpkins for Halloween. I even remember taking a field trip there in Elementary School.

Each of these places were farms. A place where I would walk through a true pumpkin patch looking for a pumpkin. There would be rows and rows of pumpkins on their vines and the search and the day would become a happy fall memory. When I moved from San Luis Obispo the pop up pumpkin patches that I saw next to the strip malls just didn't inspire me to hunt for the perfect pumpkin. And the truth is that it was kind of an unconscious decision. I didn't realize I was avoiding pumpkin patches until the Middle Sister decided we should go find some pumpkins this fall.
And that is how I found myself at the Johnson Brothers Pumpkin Patch at Irvine Valley College (IVC) on Saturday morning with my sisters. The urban pumpkin patch offers more than just pumpkins. There are pony rides and petting zoos, bounce houses and places for photos.
And of course, pumpkins. Lots of them. In any size your want. Even great pumpkins!
The sisters were on the hunt for a pumpkin and eventually found what they were looking for.
We were able to head out with our pumpkins before the urban pumpkin patch could start up the bounce house or cotton candy machine. While it was nothing like the pumpkin patch farms I prefer, it was a nice sister adventure on a Saturday morning. The sisters have decorated their front porch with multiple pumpkins and some butternut squash from our Mom's garden. I took some small pumpkins and added them to our entry way for a little fall flavor. 

I guess at the end of the day it doesn't really matter if you get your pumpkins at an urban patch or farm. What really matters is who you spent the day with and the memories you make together. Happy Fall!

10.14.2013

Home Detail: Orchid Wall

It's the little details that make a house a home.  The little details that make it function, fun to be in, and mostly a sanctuary.  I have little details in our home that make my heart smile when I see them. 
It's little, but I love my Orchid Wall.  I call it the Orchid Wall, but really it is just the fence with a few boards on it that T put up for me so I could have a place for some of my plants on our patio.

We live in a townhouse with a cement patio for a backyard.  HERE is the layout if you are interested.  When we first moved in we built a patio cover over the patio.  We did it for storage reasons, and I was sad I couldn't have a container garden back there with the lack of direct sun.  We put a white-ish plastic roof on it and enclosed the patio with bamboo so Samson couldn't escape.  Our neighbors called it the tiki room when we finished.  When everything was said and done I realized our patio was a great place for my orchids and came up with an idea to use the fence to display them.
The Orchid Wall wasn't a big deal, but it has made the patio.  I attached lights under the boards and T and I eat many meals out here.  At night the lights are enchanting.  In the morning, the orchids greet us for breakfast.  I love to be in the patio when it rains and our neighbors all come over now and tell me how much they like it.  I am even helped a few of them work on their patios this past summer. Here is a photo with the two orange chairs I scored and Sampson with the Orchid Wall:
And while I feel like there are a lot more things I would like to do with the patio, the Orchid Wall is one of the details I got right.

Do you have a house detail you love?  Share it with me in the comments so I can be inspired to try something new!

10.09.2013

Remebering Summer 2013


I am a little late with changing the seasonal blog header this fall, but the new one is up and now it is time to take a look back at Summer 2013.

The biggest thing that stands out is the trip T and I took to CanCun and the kitchen (phase one) renovation.  CanCun was awesome and one of the first vacations I have had where I didn't feel like I needed a vacation after the vacation, if you know what I mean....  The kitchen renovation wasn't too bad either but I feel like we are 95% finished with it and I just want to be 100% done, done, DONE! I took a few classes over the summer and that was a mistake.  Hoping not to do that one again.... The classes made me very aware of how short summer really is.  I put myself on a summer schedule and got a lot of personal projects completed.  The weather was fabulous and I am already thinking of next summer and an Italy trip that is in the works!

The picture for the summer header was taken on a trip to Sayulita Mexico a few years ago with T.  It was HOT when we went in August, but we still had a great time.  We would like to go back some day.

10.07.2013

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

I am always on the look out for slow cooker recipes that appeal to me. I don't want to think of myself as a picky eater, but I might be. I know what I like and I know my body seems to like certain kinds of food (plants and animals) and not like other foods (dairy, sugar, grains and legumes). Sign. The dairy, sugar, grain items make special occasional appearance, but other than that, I am mostly a plants and animals kind of girl. This coupled with the fact that recipes have to sound good to me sometimes limits what I will commit to trying in the kitchen. And even with this high maintenance attitude I still found this recipe for Slow Cooker Jambalaya!

This recipe came to me via Pinterest but is available on allrecipes.com. The author recommends serving with rice but I served it without. There is also a comment on allrecipes that said the Jambalaya is more soup like, but as I like soup and am not a Jambalaya counosour, I liked how it turned out. I added okra to mine and forgot the shrimp at the end..... but think I will be making this again with a slight change in the sausage I used and remembering to add the shrimp!
If you like Jambalaya or a Jambalaya soup, I would give this a try and then let me know what you think. Let the slow cooker quest continue!