Outside my window

This is happening outside my work window! The noise level is louder than loud but the view is absolutely breath taking.


Are you familiar with the US Navy's aerial demonstration team, the Blue Angels? If not, its okay. I hate to admit, but I only learned of them this week. Oops. This weekend, Portsmouth's Pease International Airport, will host the Boston-Portsmouth Air Show. The show features pilots performing aerobatic, jaw-dropping tricks near the clouds and dangerously close to the ground.

Working on Pease, I have had the heart-attack-inducing pleasure of hearing the rumbles aka the Blue Angels practice. I only kind of kid about the attack my heart has been under. It is a welcomed distraction, a once in a lifetime sight... when watching outdoors. These pilots make Tom Cruise look silly (in case we didn't already think he was). Diving, twisting, tumbling, speeding, swerving, flying upside down, right side up, inside out (jusssst kidding) and in formations to awe the crowd. From inside the office, however, the "hum" made when flying at ground level and so close to the window scares the poop out of me. Imagine what it might sound like if a plane was about to crash into your apartment, office building, or home and you have recreated the correct noise. Freakishly enough this has been a nightmare 0f mine.


According to the press, it has been 20 years since the Blue Angels performed in New Hampshire, and as long since an air show of this magnitude has come to the Seacoast. If you are around this weekend, come to Pease (early) and check them out! As long as you are not watching from inside a building, the Blue Angels will steal your heart and your breath.


Happy Friday! Big weekend plans??

PS. Thank you ALL for your warm, well wishes on my engagement! I couldn't be more surprised and more excited myself!! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


Soooooo, I'm engaged!

There was a dollhouse from when I was four. There was a park. There were flowers. There were sweet words. There were nervous giggles. There was one knee. There was a question. There was a ring. There was a YES!

And now I'm engaged to my best friend.


Farmer's market fancy

Every Saturday in May to October, from 8am-1pm, Portsmouth’s City Hall parking lot hosts a rich collection of local seacoast farmers and growers, wineries and organics. Each market has a different appeal and exudes a unique personality. Fresh cut flowers, trucks filled with corn, apple cider donuts, ripe peaches, blueberry wine, farm fresh eggs, organic toiletries, brilliant heirloom tomatoes, large eggplants, maple syrup, white heron tea, glorious pies and Anadama breads are just a small component of what is for sale. In other words, a grown up’s playground.

Last Saturday I walked down around noon. I was prepared for barren stands, ebbing crowds and sold out apple cider donuts. To my pleasure, every stand was in full force, produce abundant. Well, the donuts were gone, but they never make it past 10am.

Greeted by sunflowers, corn and tomatoes; I’ll take all three please.

Haven’t even circled the place once yet and I’m sucked in by these purple beauties.

And this deep purple beauty.

Sweet Baby Vineyards, a boutique winery located in the small town of Kensington, New Hampshire, offered fruit wines (blueberry, peach, raspberry), white table wines, and as described by the kind sales rep., “dangerously smooth” red wines. Do you take credit cards? (Four stands in and my cash flow was low). Yes. OK. We’re in business. Marèchal Foch, a medium bodied fruity, semi-dry red wine with soft tannins and hints of fresh blackberries, aka the “dangerously smooth” red wine was selected without much debate.

Look at these large green cucs! Is it sad I didn’t even have 50 cents for a cucumber?Yes, but look at what I did come home with! No regrets.

Onto the main course...what I made this week with my bounty:

Pesto pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, green peppers and cherry tomatoes

...with corn on the cob

Eggplant & zucchini pesto pizza

Fresh salsa

Rosemary summer squash and corn with grilled chicken

Grilled chicken salad with the last of the farmer's corn

Summer Eggplant "Parm"

Pardon my eggplant, but right now, in this moment, you need to know how to make this summer eggplant "parm." Clearly, ask me if you want info. on anything posted here, but we must focus on the eggplant. The eggplant.

Step 1: Salt your eggplant. I never salted eggplant before cooking until this week. Trust me, you want to. The salt draws out the liquid and improves the eggplant's naturally bitter taste. Pour salt on the plate, place the eggplant on top, salt the top of the eggplant. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. MAKE SURE TO RINSE THE EGGPLANT WHEN DONE. Sorry I just screamed at you, but seriously, you don't want heavily salted eggplant. Ew.

Step 2: While the eggplant is getting its salt on, chop tomatoes and slice mozzarella cheese. I used roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 3: When the oven is ready and your eggplants have been rinsed of salt, roast them for 20 minutes on each side.

Step 4: Rinse and cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Step 5: Top with mozz cheese and tomatoes when there are a few minutes left. If you like, broil for 2 minutes to get the cheese perfect. This picture was taken pre-broil.

Step 6: Plate eggplant slices on top of quinoa.

I didn't want this meal to end.
Can you tell? The quinoa, which I must admit, I was hesitant to try in place of traditional pasta, was worth it. The little grains formed to the eggplant to create a subtle crunch similar to that of the fried eggplant in eggplant parmesan. The tomatoes, fresh and flavorful, outperformed any and all marinara sauces. Fresh mozzarella > shredded. I enjoyed the leftover eggplant later in the week for lunch. Popped the eggplant, cheese and tomatoes in the toaster oven for a few minutes, laid spinach on a wrap and rolled it all up.

If you frequent a farmer's market on the weekends, I sincerely hope you fancy the eggplant this time around. Something different and something purple. Get silly.


Light stick escalation

Lollapalooza's beauty runs deep. Festival goers have the ability to cater the three days to their needs and wants to create an indelible experience. If the headliner holds a special place in your heart and iPod and you want to camp out at this stage all day to ensure a front row spot you can do that. If you want to work your way to the front of the crowd for each band you see and be in the middle of it all, you definitely could and should. If the massive sea of people becomes overwhelming and/or relaxing on a blanket listening to music is more your style; guess what, the trees and grass of Grant Park accommodate. Lolla even has a lounging area set up called "Hammock Heaven."

Saturday's experience was in tune with relaxation.

I'm not sure if the artists (Stars, Warpaint, Dawes, Deer Tick, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) we saw attributed to the leisurely atmosphere or if the miles walked on Thursday and Friday caught up to my body. Regardless, we all eased into Saturday. Matt and I started the day with a visit to the general store and art market located inside the park. Yes, Lollapalooza had its own convenient corner store in case you forgot or wanted hand sanitizer, gum, aspirin or sunscreen and its own slew of booths for those who wanted to purchase local merchandise: hats, jewelry, purses, bags, dresses, wallets, etc.

If the DJ tent ate your sunglasses, it was okay because Lollapalooza had you covered.

Aside from the stellar lineup of musicians, Lollapalooza offered a creative mix of food at its two chow town locations (30 choices total to be exact). Lollapalooza's 2010 culinary director, Graham Elliot Bowles, is a Top Chef regular, named the best new chef by Food and Wine magazine in 2004 and at 27, was the youngest four-star chef to be named in any US city. Impressive right? So was the cuisine. Falafel pitas, "beer fed" BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and grilled cheese pretzels from Goose Island Brewpub; lobster corn dogs from Graham Elliot; rockit truffle fries and bourbon BBQ pulled pork sandwich from Rockit Bar and Grill; Tallgrass grassfed brisket burrito, grilled vegetable burrito and spicy baja chicken burrito from Burrito Beach; fish tacos, homemade sweet potato chips, honey barbecue chicken tenders from BJ's Market & Bakery; fried dough and pesto, spicy shrimp and pork belly baked potato from Elate at the Hotel Felix. Yeah, we dined. Red Velvet, salted caramel and black and white cupcakes were available from More; hot fudge brownie sundaes from Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe and pina colada, black raspberry and mango orange banana smoothies from Maui Wowi tantalized sweet teeth.

As if that wasn't enough to sink your teeth into, Lollapalooza's support of the Chicago area's sustainable food movement was made evident with the new Green Street Farmers Market. Organic, fair-trade coffee and espresso drinks; berry smoothies made from local berries and locally produced cider; frozen kefir; fresh fruit, noodle dishes, cheese and bread from local farmers and artisanal producers!

Don't hate, but those are all my food pictures. I know, I know, bad blogger....but, it was difficult. Many, if not all meals were consumed in under 5 minutes due to an urgency to see the next brilliant artist. But I assure you everything was as good as it sounds/looks, especially the handmade sweet potato chips and truffle fries above.

Pina colada smoothies with secret ingredients were on tap Saturday, so was the vino. Oh, did I fail to mention that Lollapalooza sold wine in a sport bottle with mini plastic cups? My bad. Bud light, Budweiser, Bud light lime were also available.

Around 7:30, the crew was done recharging, Perry's DJ stage was bumpin', wine was flowing and life escalated real fast.

I told you there might be a magical light stick!

Home is wherever I'm with you

I know I'm in the middle of slowly recapping Lollapalooza but it also dawned on me that I owe you some tunes. So why not bring a little more of Lolla to you.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes : Home

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes played at the Sony Bloggie stage at 6:30pm on Saturday. Summer evening, perfection. The tunes are folky, but poppy. Hippie, but hipster. Happy, but not corny. The band does not include an artist named Edward Sharpe, but does include 12 people. Rolling Stone declared the group an artist to watch in 2009, calling them a cross between Arcade Fire and the Mamas & the Papas. Their song "Janglin" was featured in a TV ad for the 2011 Ford Fiesta and the above song, "Home" was voted number 15 on the Australian Triple J Hottest 100, 2009 countdown, the largest music poll in the world. Obviously all high praise, but if you are anything like me you have never heard of the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 and maybe didn't see the Ford commercial. It's simple really. The reason why Australia and Ford Fiesta like this song; it makes you dance. From minute one. By yourself. With a friend. With strangers. And with a massive, what-is-going-on grin across your face. It happened to me, it can happen to you. No one is safe.


Sit back and wave through the daylight

For three days every August, Lollapalooza showcases a wide array of talented performers. From up and coming artists (Frightened Rabbit and Neon Hitch) to old souls (Jimmy Cliff and Mavis Staples), to major stars (Lady Gaga and Green Day), Lollapalooza exposes, popularizes and celebrates music. Created in 1991 by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for the band, Lollapalooza ran annually until 1997. In 2005 the tour made its way to Chicago's Grant Park where it will remain until 2018. I have attended the last three years and 2010 highly exceeded any and all expectations. Lollapalooza was truly bigger and better, with more port-a-potties, foodie love and refillable water bottle stations. The tunes weren't too shabby either.

B.O.B is to Lollapalooza what a crystal chandelier is to an entrance foyer. Grand. Starting the weekend off on the right foot, B.o.b literally knocked socks and shoes off, singing about beautiful girls, airplanes and magic. B.o.b's morning slot (11:30-12:15) had me quite baffled at first. I mean c'mon, the guy has two hit songs with one on the way and he gets the breakfast crowd. Well color me wrong, B.o.b drew fans. Awake, excited, and screaming, fans ran, sorry, sprinted to his stage as the first few chords echoed from the South lawn of Grant Park. Free-styling one minute, swooning the ladies with soft ballads and an acoustic guitar the next, then throwing his shoes into the hungry sea of people, B.o.b's swagger, humor and lyrics left everyone wanting encore B.o.b performances for lunch and dinner.

Insert The Walkmen, Ana Sia, Peanut Butter Wolf and weird Devo hats and hazmat jumpsuits here.

Personally, I wasn't blown away again until 5pm. Enter Matt and Kim; to 'Where Brooklyn At' at that! Seriously, please check out this entrance courtesy of Rolling Stone. Can you even imagine!? So freakin' cool. Kim's unwavering smile lit up Chicago and Matt pumped the jams out of that keyboard with mega intensity. For a skinny dude that plays the keyboard and wears glasses, that boy can jam. Matt and Kim vs. the energizer bunny...Matt and Kim win. Prediction, they will headline in 2013. I didn't see anyone else give a shout out to Green Man or use the crowd to booty dance. We're talking (insert Kim Schifino's voice directing the crowd here) "you hold my right leg, you hold my left leg, hold me up/make sure I don't fall, and I'm going to show you guys the booty dance I've been working on." It rocked. So did their set list: I Wanna, Better Off Alone (Alice DeeJay cover), Lessons Learned, Lightspeed, Yea Yeah, Good ol' fashioned Nightmare, and Daylight. Sit back and wave through the daylight....

Matt and Kim kicking ass at the Adidas stage Friday afternoon

Jamie Lidell, who I saw more than once this weekend, since we were conveniently staying at the same hotel, was an artist to not be missed. That is, if you like funk, soul, electronica and British accents. I am not familiar with Jamie's new cd, so a lot of the songs were foreign to me, but that didn't stop the enjoyment of the smooth, genuine notes. 'A little bit more,' a killer song from his second album is performed with only the beats from his mouth, mic and a looping machine, and "Little bit of feel good" were all I needed to hear to feel good about this show. The crowd was feeling it too, boppin' along to the rhythm, as Jamie Lidell and the Sony Bloggie stage produced one groovin' performance.

Then utter disaster and disappointment struck. In the form of a bloody fame monster. And, no, that isn't my wannabe British accent carrying over. Not even mid-way through the performance, this little monster came on stage covered in blood, or faux blood, either way, shut the front door Lady Gaga.

Seriously, the best thing about Gaga's set was the cute little boy next to us unconditionally loving Lady Gaga and unknowingly singing along. I don't know, was I expecting too much? Lady Gaga basically has that 'everything I touch turns to gold' thing down so I guess I figured she would own Friday night. She capsized like Bennifer after Affleck proposed to J-Lo with a pink diamond. Here's why: instead of singing her hits (I admit to increasing the volume to unreasonable decibel levels when hearing 'Just dance' come on the radio) the "Lady" theatrically and angrily preached, shouted, and praised her own awesomeness all while repeatedly panting into the microphone. I'm all about self confidence, but when screamed rashly it teeters on still needing therapy. Who cares that people were mean to you in high school? People were mean to me in high school too, but I'm not going to repeatedly reference my awkward high school career in relation to my global superstardom (when I obtain it, ha!). Lollapalooza is not the venue for raving ridiculous antics; it's a music show. “No one fucking believed in me, but we did it. And look at all of us nowwwwwwww.” Pant, scream, pant, rave, rant, pant. Shrieking positive messages is an oxy-moron, no? I think the blog Time Out Chicago said it best, "It's hard to look past a woman screaming at a mechanical octopus’ “monster” tentacles, “Don’t rape me, monster!”

We found solace at Perry's stage where the Dewaele brothers aka Soulmax aka 2ManyDJ's were electro-fying the crowd with heavy mash ups. Expensive sunglasses might have been lost but we danced in front of the jumbo-tron thing, and could still see Gaga's lavish fireworks display.

jumbo tron thing--that's Matt waving and I'm to the left taking a pic

Epic Burger ended the evening on a high note. An epic high note. Perhaps as high as Gaga was during her bloody rendition of Beautiful, dirty rich (or whatever it was she was "singing" during that escapade). A more mindful burger, you say? I will always say yes when the word epic is involved or after a night at Lollapalooza. Can you spot the burger with the egg?

-B.o.b...Matt and Kim...Epic burgers = Epic.
-Lady Gaga = Fail.