Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not So Silver Lake

Silver Lake, Big Cottonwood Canyon

This weekend was the 24th of July, and for those of you that aren't native Utahns we happily refer to it in my family as "Second 4th." Like second breakfast, or second helpings we can't get enough celebrating in with just our nation's holiday and just have to do it one more time. Really another excuse to break out the sparklers in our po-dunk-here town of Salt Lake City is reason enough for me. July 24th is officially a state holiday formulated to honor our pioneer heritage. It rivals most July 4th celebrations across the country. Our biggest parade downtown is on the 24th. People dress up in long sleeves and petticoats for fun. Festivals and the like abound. It's quite joyous.

My family often picnics it "ups dare in dem nature parts" to feel more at home with our pioneer ancestory. Well, if we had pioneer ancestors then we would feel that way. But, alas, we don't and so we just picnic while my dad tells pioneer stories that even those with relatives in them didn't know about. He is downright the most knowledgable man I know on the subject and as his children we have been blessed (and blessed, and blessed) with hearing these tales of woe. Maybe overcompensating for our immigration into this here blessed state of honey maybe?

Brunette's brother and girlfriend on the boardwalk

This year we chose Silver Lake. About 20 min east of SLC up Big Cottonwood Mountain at the base of Brighton Ski Resort lies this beaut. Lovely Lake. Really, just dashing with a real nice boardwalk to walk around. And after Brunette's Mum's Southern Fried Chicken for lunch we needed to run around it. Maybe 3 times, but we didn't. Instead we came back and had Oreo Cake. Scrumtrulescent I tell you.

Looked more brown than silver to me...

Directions to hike Silver Lake from SLC:
Take I-215 Eastbound, exit 6200 south. Head east and follow signs to Big Cottonwood Canyon and Brighton/Solitude Ski resorts. About 14.2 mi up the canyon it will turn into a one way loop and you will see the Silver Lake Visitors Center and trailhead on the right. This is also the trailhead for the ever popular Twin Lakes and Lake Solitude hikes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bums and Beiruting

Don't be fooled by their nerdy appearence. Beirut rocks.

Last night Blonde and I along with some other delightfully joyous friends attended the Twilight Concert Series held this year in Pioneer Park (previously known as "homeless bum park").  Tantalizing our inner hipster we thoroughly enjoyed the talents and treats of one of my favorite-of-late bands Beirut.  With the change from Gallivan Center to Pioneer Park we were able to comfortably sway along with the thousands that chose to join our intimate party.

At the christening of this years concert series a few weeks ago, we (along with 55,000 other Utahns) desperately tried to enjoy the talents of Modest Mouse, and were thus encouraged to never again grace the TCS with our beer stained, bruised, and sweaty prescense.  It was downright awful.  For us non-drinker-smoker-all together non partiers spending the evening being breathed, grouped, and fondled was not appetizing to our concert loving tastes.  I left after 4 songs.  Yea.  It was horrific.

But, alas, Beirut's awesomeness won out and I dragged my recovering body down to the show and boy o' boy did they not dissapoint.  Seriously.  The polka, spanish, ukelele, upright piano, accordian styled tunes sweetened my soul and made everything perfect for an awesome summer evening. It dramatically changed the bitter parts of my heart that held such an awful grudge against the Twilight series.  Maybe the significantly smaller crowd helped, but altogether I was in smit.  Especially over the drummer. His happy-go-lucky-nerd-just-so-grateful-to-be-a-part-of-something-cool grin made me giggle.

If you are interested in attending one of the rest of the Twilight Series FREE concerts in Pioneer Park see the line up here.

She and Him

I'm gearing up for The New Pornographers and She and Him. Wanna join?

P.S. Can you remember just 3-I repeat three short years ago when we sat on the grass at the Gallivan Center and ate dinner whilst watching Andrew Bird?  Sigh...those were the days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Confection Obsession

Once upon a time Brunette had many adorable, single lady friends. But then, they all just kept getting married and married and married and married and consequentially she noticed a trend. As every single one of these "friends" would get the inclination to eternally attach herself to the opposite gender, Brunette would get this undeniable urge to create an event to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Complete with sugary confections, savory delights and cleverly designed invitations—this process always began with a stirring in her soul and ended with a satisfying (albeit very full) sigh of satisfaction.

Well, it has happened yet again. And like the old Proverb says, "Those who can't wed, pretend (or plan lovely events to celebrate)" Brunette finds herself throwing caution to the wind, and planning a bridal brunch for her dearly devoted friend.

And this is the outcome.
Woodland Creature Confections

Don't be alarmed. It's a good thing really.

It all started with some cookies:
Adorable Squirrel

Blonde bought these adorable outdoor cookies cutters at IKEA the other Saturday whilst perusing the Swedish designed wonders and having been just recently nourished by delectable meatballs with gravy, she was in a ridiculously good mood and more apt to making the purchase. So when they made it into the cart and back into our home Brunette just HAD HAD HAD to use them. Isn't that squirrel just to-die-for cute?

Well something about Brunette (how did I get to writing this whole thing in 3rd person anyways??) that you might not know:

She loves to bake. And cook. And eat. And socialize whilst eating. And force her friends to muscle down her goods. And find new recipes and try them and especially try to improve them. Well really its quite hard for Brunette to even follow a recipe at all. She is always changing things up. And thats how these bad boys came about.

Brunette's Sour Cream Almond Sugar Cookies

3 1/2 C Flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C unsalted butter
1 C sugar
1 egg beaten
1 Tbs. whole milk or cream
3 T sour cream
1/2 tsp. almond extract

1. Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until soft and fluffy
2. Add egg and milk
3. Add sifted dry ingredients slowly alternating with tablespoons of sour cream
4. Refrigerate 2 hrs (this is very important)
5. Roll out, cut out and bake at 375 degrees for 8 min taking them out before they brown on the edges.
6. Frost and enjoy!

Almond Frosting Recipe:

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp. whole milk or cream
1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract (or more to taste)

1. Cream butter and sugar and add corn syrup.
2. Add milk until just the right texture (slightly runny).
3. Add almond extract and tint.
4. Frost!

(I tried to mimic a royal icing texture WITHOUT that hideous royal icing taste)

They are delicious. And if you have visited the famous Cutlers Cookies in Centerville or Bountiful these morsels might slightly remind you of their delectable goods. (Well they were the inspiration for the addition of almond, so of course).

More on the outcome of the bridal shower in a later post...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red Butte Gardens = Concert Heaven

I love the mountains. I love going to concerts. I love being with friends. Combine all three and you get a trifecta of music-mountain-friend goodness.
Last week I packed up the picnic basket (or bag—Brunette gave me a lovely insulated picnic bag for my b-day) and headed to Red Butte Gardens. Nestled in the the Salt Lake City foothills, Red Butte Garden Amphitheater is in my opinion the best outdoor venue in SLC. Red Butte brings in a great list of unique bands each year. This year the artists range from The Bare Naked Ladies to Willie Nelson.
Red Butte is great, I can't say anything bad about it (maybe because it is also RED). The music is fantastic. Not just the great artists who perform each year, but the concert sound is some of the best I have heard. Production is great—by production I mean all the behind the scenes stuff from picking up tickets, to concert security, to employees who monitor the height of chairs and umbrellas. You can't beat the experience and atmosphere either. You can bring in your own blankets, chairs, food, and alcohol (not that I do, but I appreciate a good Martinelli's). It isn't uncommon to see wine glasses next to blankets spread with an array of fancy eatables. But my favorite part about Red Butte is the amazing view of the Wasatch mountains. I have lived in Utah most of my life and yet I am still in awe of how spectacular the mountains look. Added to the outdoor concert atmosphere, they are majestic to say the least.

Brandi Carlile rocking out

So enough about how much I love Red Butte Gardens, I actually saw a show while I was there. I went to the amazing and fabulous Red Butte (couldn't help myself) to see Brandi Carlile. This is my 3rd time seeing her. She has an amazing voice and I'm so impressed with how she can crack her voice in just the right way to make her music unique and soulful. This was probably my favorite show of the three I have seen (maybe it is the Red Butte factor). We had a great picnic dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, grapes (yes I was fed them in a cluster—Greek goddess style), birch [root]beer and my favorite Jujyfruit candy. We sat on a blanket near the back and ate our dinner during the opening band (Katie Herzig was awesome), but headed up to the front to watch Brandi up close. The crowd was great, but we had a small encounter with a gentleman who didn't like us standing in front of him. Needless to say by the end of the show everyone was standing including this friendly man.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Welcome to our home

A view taken from a rooftop in the Aves

Well, hello there.

This is the new blog we just started. We are a
(BB&R for short) and the three of us live together in
(and yes, those are our natural hair colors). We love living in Salt Lake and taking advantage of all the activities and events this valley provides. We’re pretty willing to try just about anything albeit at different levels of enthusiasm. And this blog wants to tell you all about our
adventures and mishaps
while living here. We’ll be hiking, going to concerts, camping, dining, watching movies, reading books, visiting trademark Utah sites, cooking, crafting, eventing*, and pretty much anything else that we take a fancy to.

So, here we go.

*I made up the word eventing to mean that we’ll be going to events. And those events will be in and around the Salt Lake Valley. Side note: eventing kinda sounds like e-venting, like venting our frustrations electronically, which actually might happen, but that is not the definition for the word I just made up.