Thursday, July 31, 2014

Studio Coffee

Tomorrow we are heading out on our road trip! We will be making our way through the southwest, up the coast to Portland and then back home through the mountains. You can follow along with us on instagram (@mandy_gross & @fletcher144). We will be using our personal instagrams but we will also be guest posting over on @studiocoffeeco as well. Our really good friends over at Studio Coffe Co., Josh & Kimberly, asked us to document our trip on their instagram as well as do some guest blog posts on their blog when we get back. We will be focusing on coffee for their instagram. We are super excited to team up with them for hopefully the first of many times. 
You should check out their site. They have a wonderful coffee catering business and Josh can make a mean latte! 

If you have any suggestions in the Albuquerque,  Flagstaff, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Salt Lake City, Boise, Denver areas or anywhere in between let us know!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

weekending

This past weekend we went to my parent's house which is pretty common but my mom and I decided to go to the other side of the lake and walk so I took my camera and snapped a few photos. 

Seriously....so handsome.






Sunday on our way home we stopped by Fletcher's aunt's house to go for a swim. It was waaay too cold for me to get in the water but Fletcher didn't seem to mind at all.




 Fletcher's aunt has some adorable kittens right now. This little guy was being a jungle cat and he was just too adorable for me to not take a photo. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Handsome Coffee Roasters

I've been eyeing Handsome Coffee for a while now and when I found out that they were merging with Blue Bottle and wouldn't be around much longer I had to snag some beans before it was too late.  I decided to give the Dapper Espresso a shot. (Pun intended) 



When you first smell it you get a lot of woodsy notes with a hint of sweet. It smelled delicious but I was a little worried it would be a little weird in a latte. Once I ground the beans it changed a bit and a lot more of the woody/nutty scent came out. I used my aeropress to brew it and once I poured the water in it smelled so delicious. It was woody, dark and a bit chocolatey. I used a little white chocolate sauce in my latte and it definitely helped bring out the sweetness and nuttiness of the espresso. 





Overall, I love this espresso. I'm so sad that I won't be able to order any more but I'm glad I at least got to try some. I haven't gotten to try a shot of it from an espresso machine yet. I'm hoping to be able to share it with some friends who have one and we can try it out that way as well. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

daily routine

This guy is my absolute favorite. We've been making our way through Supernatural since we finally finished Dexter. Which, by the way, we both actually liked the ending of Dexter. We heard so many bad things about it but managed to keep an open mind and I'm very glad we did. A more in depth explanation of why will have to wait for the (possible) tv/movie review blog Fletcher and I may be starting together.


A normal evening for us is picking out something on Netlfix and make some delicious coffee to go with it. It's extremely relaxing (unless it's an exciting show!) and while a lot of people may think it's not very personal but for us it's one of our favorite couple activities. We tend to debate a lot about the things we watch so it leads to some great conversations.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Eightysixed


So, last week I was asked if I'd like to read a book about love and foodie adventures in Chicago. Um, yes, please! I started reading Emily Belden's Eightysixed. Emily has a blog called Total E-Bag that she started in 2011 so she could chronicle her bad dates and everyday life in Chicago. Her book is basically the same idea. She writes about her many bad dates that eventually led to something amazing. I know that seems pretty vague but I don't want to give anything away! There were some laugh out loud moments and some sad ones too. Emily's narrative is hilarious. Much like the emails we exchanged, you can feel her spirit and spunk throughout her story. Overall, it's a very fun and easy read. It only took me 3 days to read it and once I got close to the end I couldn't put it down. I just had to finish it to see what happened!


Once I was finished I had a few questions for Emily so we did a little mini Q&A.
1. What made you decide to write this memoir?

It started as just a Dear Diary on steroids, not really meant for the world to see, but to just help myself get over a bad breakup (details in Part One of the book...). But as all the crazy experiences of Part 2 started happening, I just couldn't stop repeating: "This could totally be a book." So I made it one. By the time the serendipitous, soulful ending happened in Part 3, I knew putting all the wild and crazy out there was worth it - if only for that ending.

2. How was writing a book different than writing for your personal blog? Do you prefer blogging or book writing?

I definitely prefer writing because I love storytelling. Sometimes in a 400 word post, you make a point - but you don't story-tell. That part is important for me. And the main difference is instant gratification vs. long-term achievement. Start to finish, Eightysixed was a 3.5 year process. Blog posts can take me 10 minutes and then they are live for the world to see.

3. Out of all the bad dates you wrote about in the book were there any that you didn't add that were equally as bad or worse?

Definitely the worst of the worst made it in there, and I actually had the opposite problem. I had to decide: "Was that bad date bad enough to make the cut?" Talk about a first-world problem!

4. Do you plan on writing another book?

Yes! I am currently half way done with the manuscript. It's an adult fiction book called FAKER. The ending on this one may even be more unforeseen than mine with Floris in Eightysixed, so stay tuned. Due out in 2015.

5. After you met Floris did you learn to cook? Do you have any favorite recipes?

I didn't learn to cook, but I vowed to stay active in the Chicago food scene. So I made sure that saving up to splurge on a coursed-out meal was a priority. It's really incredible to go from just "eating" to having an full-blown artistic experience with food.  

6. What kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have any recommendations?

I like to read the opposite of how I can write. I just finished Gone Girl, which is a stellar book. I could never think of twists and turns like that and carry out a winding story for over 400 pages, but the author did just that. I am so proud to be among a coalition of Chicago Authors with her and cannot wait to see it on the big screen.
___________________________________________________________________

This book is a great summer read and I highly recommend it. Emily has included a discount code for you to get 20% off! Just go here and use the code 2NPRU7QM at checkout!

Let me know in the comments if you read it or have read it and what you think!

photos courtesy of Emily Belden



Thursday, July 10, 2014

rainy days & good music

Last night we went to see The Ember Days. They are an amazing worship band from New Zealand (well, most of them) that we met about 7 years ago and have been great friends with ever since. Whether you like worship music or not you can't deny that Janell sings like an angel. Her voice is the most beautiful thing I think I've ever heard. If you've never heard of them you should definitely check them out. They are some of the nicest and most genuine people. 



Then today, I woke up to a lovely thunderstorm. This weather is absolutely crazy for an Oklahoma summer. We usually have a drought and it's usually over 100 every day but I don't think we've broken 100 yet and it's rained a lot. Very odd but also very nice. Summers here can get old pretty quick when you can't even go outside because of the heat and humidity. 






We picked up a couple of cd's and a record from The Ember Days last night. (Thanks Janell!!) I think this is my new favorite record in our collection. 


Monday, July 7, 2014

blackberry picking

My parents have a plethora of blackberry bushes all up and down their dirt road so during the summer we go at least once or twice each time we are over there and pick blackberries. It's pretty fun and Fletcher loves blackberries so he's all about it. I usually just tag along and take photos. The weather was nice this weekend and their road is very shaded so it's a pretty enjoyable little walk once you get up the first hill that's kind of a doozy.









Just as I took this last photo my camera died. Of course, I forgot the charger and couldn't take any more pictures the rest of the weekend. We had planned on doing some sparkler writing photos with our friends but I guess that will just have to happen another time.