Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NY Resolutions - Sly Fox Edition

If I can be totally honest with you all, 2013 was not my year. Looking back on my resolutions from last year, I'm kind of cracking up because (and don't hate me for saying this) life was so easy back then. Isn't it absolutley cuckoo how just one year can change your entire perspective on life?

I can officially say I'm a grown-up now. Staying out until 3 am, sleeping until noon, throwing purchases you don't need on a credit card - I'm over it. And when I say I'm over it, it doesn't mean that these things don't occasionally happen, however they are becoming far more few and far between. I lost an important mentor and my first long-term (4 year) relationship is behind me. I'm single, living alone in an apartment in Dundee and even Bebop has slowed down considerably.

That being said, 2014 is going to be all about me [and Bebop]. When I reflect on the last few years of my life, there are a lot of great memories, however I didn't spend the time I should have making sure I was getting where I want to go. There's no point in putting a lot of regret into how you wasted time in the past, but I can tell you I'm going to be much more present in my future. The obvious reason in making resolutions in the first place is to try to achieve a happier and hopefully healthier you. But more than that they're about reaching a truer you. So here's what I have on my personal agenda in the upcoming year.

  • Find a Style I'm happy with (and can maintain). This past year I got pretty lazy about how I looked. Maybe it's because I was in a relationship, so I didn't think it really mattered, maybe it's because I gained some unexpected weight, maybe it's just because I was plain lazy. Either way, this year I want to commit to a new style I love and can easily maintain. This is probably going to start with a haircut. Not a drastic one, but I definitely part with about five inches of my hair and possibly return to bangs. Also thrown in the mix - more band tees. Seriously, I kind of want to live in t-shirts in 2014.
  • Take myself out for more dinners. If there's one thing I'm going to allow myself to splurge on in 2014, it's a nice meal. Whether this meal is spent alone or in the company of others, I want to indulge in all of the great deliciousness Omaha has to offer.
  • Go see more local art. I think this is self-explanatory. 
  • Spend more time at home aka spend less time at bars. To help my pocket book and personal health, I think I can stand to spend more nights in and less nights out trolling bars in Benson. I wouldn't mind throwing more coffee shops in the mix once it gets warmer out. Especially since my new neighborhood spot, Blue Line has such a lovely outdoor patio which I can just envision myself and Bebop hanging out on.  
  • Seriously Seriously consider going to Graduate School. I've let the fear of re-taking the GRE and leaving Omaha go on for long enough. It's time to seriously sit down and consider my post-undergraduate education plan. In 2014 I want to go visit all the campuses I can, study and re-take that damned GRE exam and prepare myself to apply for programs by the end of the year.
  • Find and listen to more NEW music. This will likely be my easiest resolution and one that I hope will be on my list each year moving forward. I go through spurts of listening to new music, but then I always end up going back to my standbys in a pinch. I think my secret this year will be finding a technological outlet to track new music I'm listening to and what I like and what I don't. Do you have any music sites that are your favorite? Spotify? Sound Cloud? Pandora? 

  • Write More. Read More. I'm not sure if there will ever be a time where this goal is not on my list. I gain no pleasure like I do with my nose in a book or a laptop or notepad in front of me. I really, really wish I got paid to read and write all day. Maybe Kerry and I need to re-instate our little book club. 
  • Take my "fancy" camera out with me. While I upgraded to an iPhone 5C which came equipped with a much better camera, it still ain't shit compared to the Nikon I got for Christmas last year. Arguably, I'm a little scared to take my nice camera out because I don't have a bag or case for it. So, this is the year I'm going ot invest in a bag like this or this. My photography skills have improved over the past year, but I know there's a lot more to learn about operating a camera that isn't attached to a phone.

Of course there are some shared goals Kerry and I have with this blog itself. We want to continue to provide you all with a look at our daily lives in the mid-west, but maybe it's about time we seek some sponsors. You think?

NY Resolutions - Wise Owl Edition

Like I said last year, I really don't like making New Year's resolutions. I think it's because I'm terrible at keeping them and then when I don't I feel like I let myself down. THIS year, I'm going to post my list somewhere visible in my home so I am constantly reminding myself about what I want to accomplish. I'll report back next year on how that went...

First let's see how I did on last year's resolutions that I completely forgot about by January 15th:
  • Follow through. I would say that I tried not to make promises I knew I wouldn't keep. That being said, I spent a good part of 2013 feeling physically awful so I was probably flakier than I've ever been because of that.
  • Make more food at home. This went terribly.
  • Save money. Well, I DID actually save money... and then I bought a house with it. Since I look at that as an investment, I'd say I did pretty well. I'm proud that I was able to buy my first house all on my own and of the work I've been able to put into it thus far. 

 So that brings us to this year's resolutions!

  •  Cook more meals at home. I'm keeping this one on the list because I really, really want to get better about this! I can cook a pretty damn good meal, too, I just get lazy about cooking when it's just for me. So maybe part of my resolution should be to cook for others as well! 

  •  Become more handy. What this means is to learn how to do things around the house. I'd like to learn how to change out an electrical outlet, use the tools that are in my tool box, drill some holes in some walls, caulk some shit, etc. As a homeowner you gotta know these things. 

  • Explore my city! Next time Meghan and I have a blog meeting I want use to brainstorm and make a huge list of all the restaurants, museums, bars, stores, etc. that we want to visit in Omaha. Then we can hang that list up and cross things off as we go. And of course we'll be sure to share our experiences with you guys! 

  • Volunteer somewhere. This is embarrassing, but I've never really volunteered anywhere save for the one day a year we were forced to in high school. And that's how I felt about it. Like I was forced to do it. One idea that comes to mind is volunteering at my grandmother's retirement community.

And that's all folks! When it comes to resolutions I think my best strategy to actually keep these goals is to keep 'em simple. Cheers to 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Web Wilderness / Branching Out

Another holiday week has arrived and in this one we will say goodbye to 2013. A fresh year and a fresh start is upon on. While some put far too much pressure on, "This is the year I'm going to finally ___________" we like to set goals for ourselves, but then don't beat ourselves up too badly when we come back next year to find that some of those goals are still outstanding. The new year gives us all an opportunity to reflect and consider whether we're turning into the people we want to be. Let's be honest, life gets busy and it's insanely easy to let it slip by you. To actually sit down with yourself and have that conversation, "Who am I now? What to I want to become? How do I get there?" is one that you must make time for.

So that's what we suggest you do before Wednesday. Sit down with yourself and write out what you liked about your life in 2013 and where there's room for improvement. If you find yourself needing a distraction from such heavy thinking, we've got you covered with the below internet findings.
  • Watch this video and try not to get inspired. I seriously want to become you Michèle Lamy.
  • I know Christmas has passed, but you need to watch this local performance of Blue Christmas. What can I say, I'm a sucker for some cello.  
  • Speaking of local music, meet Omaha's Elliott Smith. 
  • Decorating a new home takes time, patience, and money. One way I like to keep my home full of revolving pieces is by DIY-ing (duh). These gold-dipped feathers would be adorable taped to a wall with some washi tape.
  • Lord knows we used to play with a lot of Legos. This photography series totally captures the kitschy-ness of Legos and also gives a pretty good representation of the United States, even if our Nebraska print is a little, well, boring. Though, I do think he got the pink sky right.
  • Even though he is a little wackadoodle, Into the Gloss got it right when they said, "Tom Cruise is a Babe".
  • Oh, just SJP shutting it down. You go girl. 
  • This article taking a look at some of the badass women who stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC makes me want to take a trip there soon, or at least get around to finally reading Patti Smith's book "Just Kids".
  • Best music videos of 2013, do you agree
  • Someone please buy me this shirt please! And this pin to go along with it. 
  • Man, my grandmother was awesome, but not this awesome. 
  • Color. Joy. Loving it.

If you find yourself craving some fast-food this week, skip McDon-Dons and Burger King and head straight to an Omaha classic - Bronco's. Seriously, this is the best quick serve hamburger I've ever had.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Jams #46

This is going to be our last Saturday Jams of 2013. It was a new addition to our posting schedule this year and if my math serves me correctly, I only missed posting something 6 weeks this year, which sounds pretty good to me.

So you won't find a year-end-wrap-up here from me and that's mostly because I focused this year on just sharing whatever songs I was digging that week. Maybe next year I'll look more into sharing more current music, but let's not think about that right now. Let's live in the moment while we can.


Sky Ferreira - "You're Not the One"
So I'm a little embarrased I hadn't really heard of Sky Ferreira until this week, really. She had popped up in my internet browsing before, but I just wrote her off as a model with an edge/drug problem. Turns out she's actually got a pretty pop/rock album out there. Also this video makes me want to cut all of my hair off and walk around with it piecey and damp like she does here. Though that's probably not the best idea. 

Rhye - "Open"
I've always had a soft spot for Sade and Rhye is currently filling said spot and more.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wind Down / Wound Up

Hello weekend! Hopefully that was a short week for most of you and while the return to work was less than ideal, at least we have a couple of days off again! So as the [shortened] work week winds down, WO + SF and crew are winding up for the weekend.
FRIDAY December 27th
  • Tonight I'm heading downtown for dinner at Kitchen Table to meet with a longtime friend who's in town for the holidays from her home in Austin. I'm so excited to introduce her to Omaha's newest and greatest, especially since she's a vegetarian, and they do a nightly meatless option!
  • I think while we're in the Old Market, we should partake in some of the newer bars down there. The Berry & Rye is a spot I've been wanting to try for months (though at $10/drink I will probably just stick with ordering one), then of course there's the brand-spanking new Borgata Brewery which very well could become my new downtown favorite.
  • Later, you might find us at O'Leaver's to see PRO-MAGNUM (can you guys tell I really like this band since we typically always post their upcoming shows?). $5 gets you in but you have to pick up your face after it gets melted off.
  • Up in Benson you can catch Hear Nebraska's showcase at The Waiting Room in support of their second compilation record. For only $8 you'll see Universe Contest, Simon Joyner & the Ghosts, Conchance & Pleasure Adapter.
SATURDAY December 28th

  • If you find yourself hungry for some pizza today, get your tastebuds going by reading this epic review in our local paper about the best pizza in Omaha. I'm someone who could eat pizza all day, everyday and reading that article makes me want to make one of our 2014 goals to go to every pizza joint in town. But maybe that would be a little redundant?
  • After eating all that pizza, head to Filmstreams to catch The Punk Singer, which looks like an amazing documentary about Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill.
  • So it's supposed to be hella nice today which means you need to spend it outside. Take your pup to the dog park, head to Mount Vernon Gardens or Fontenelle Forest to walk around, hell, take a book, a picnic basket (and a flask or thermos of wine) up to Memorial Park and enjoy the view.
  SUNDAY December 29th
  • 4:30 marks the last showing at Filmstreams of It's A Wonderful Life starring my all-time favorite Jimmy Stewart. I've been kicking myself for the last three years since I have yet to make it down to see this classic on the big screen. Maybe I'll finally make it out in 2014.
  • You know where I haven't been in a while? Aksarben. Staying north of Pacific street, I rarely go south over to Center. I often forget anything exists over there. I've been having a craving for thai food recently and I'm thinking a trip to Mai Thai can remedy that.
  • It seems like this Songwriter Death Battle idea is really picking up. In it's third installment at The Waiting Room you'll see probably the largest concentration of singers/songwriters belting out one song with one guitar.
If you find yourself wanting to get out of the house for a bit, might we suggest you head to Krug Park? They open as early as noon on the weekends and they have a lovely patio which is perfect for taking in this unusually warm weekend (again, take advantage folks, this is surely the last one we're going to get for some time).

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's a Cheesy Christmas Miracle!

While the holiday season may have officially ended - wah wah, I thought I would share one of my favorite holiday side dishes, which has made an appearance at probably every family function since the dawn of time (or at least since the dawn of the Francis family). It's honestly not much of a recipe, it's not unique to our family or our heritage, it's just plain good comfort food. One may want to call it potatoes au gratin, but let's not make this more than it is.

Cheesy Potatoes - 
  • 32 oz hash browns (you can use either shredded or cubes, I personally prefer the cubes)
  • 2 cans cream of potato soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 12 oz sour cream
  • 8 ox velveeta 
  • Chopped onion

Seriously, this is how easy this recipe is - combine all of the ingredients listed above in a 4 qt. pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, stirring every 30 minutes.

Enjoy the cheesy goodness!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Home for the Holidays: Wise Owl Edition

Merry Christmas y'all! My house is currently being filled with the smell of some delicious food, Bebop is sleeping next to me and everything is very calm. Calm is what you need before spending an afternoon with your family. And drinks, drinks are what you need during and after.

What a magical day though. As children it's the most wonderful day of the year but as we get older, it becomes something different. The magic is still there, but somehow it's faded. Maybe that's just the reality of aging. But there's that moment, usually at night, when you catch the twinkle of the lights on the tree, the flicker of the fire, when you truly know the advent of the season has arrived and you want to stay in that moment forever. That's really what today is about. So here's hoping you find that moment today, and that you try to stay in it as long as you can. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Home for the Holidays: Sly Fox Edition

Merry Christmas Eve! Today we hope you're all relaxing with a cup of hot cocoa (or many glasses of wine) and your families. I'm headed to an early Xmas Eve lunch with my family at Mark's and I'm super excited since I haven't eaten there in what feels like forever. I have a feeling being a Dundee resident now I will be enjoying many more lunches and dinners there, so the inaugural meal with my family feels pretty right.

Over the next two days we thought we'd share some of our home holiday decorations. Of course Kerry's house is much better decorated than mine, so come back tomorrow to see more, including her Santa collection!

And of course no holiday would be complete without giving gifts to your extra special friends

Monday, December 23, 2013

Web Wilderness / Branching Out

Happy holiday week y'all! Can you believe 2013 is almost over?! Man, what a year. While I'm personally looking forward to kissing this year goodbye, it's important to slow down over these next two weeks to look back at how the year has changed you as well as what you want to achieve in 2014. So grab yourself a hot chocolate, sit in front of your tree and enjoy the quiet moments before your family descends into your life. Read a couple of "Best of '13" lists and when you're through with that, here are some internet links to help you bide your time until Santa arrives. 
  • I'm never quite sure how Feminism always gets a bad wrap, but this year we took huge strides in making the movement more main stream via pop culture. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this
  • Holidays would be complete without lots of sweets and these cookies look delicious.
  • Speaking of holiday treats, don't forget to make something for that special furry friend in your life too!
  • Michael Kor's pre-fall collection is really speaking to the tomboy in me. 
  • Looking for some NYE jewelry? Might I recommend picking up something from this collection?
  • These self-portraits are AMAZING!
  • Uh, I want to eat this for breakfast immediately. 
  • God dammit this family is adorable. 
  • Bahahaha, these are hilarious. 
  • While Sense & Sensibility is our favorite Jane Austen book-turned-movie, we're also pretty obsessed with all of these other adaptations. 
  • I have a feeling this t-shirt is going to become a new wardrobe staple. 
  • Pretty pleased with the fact that I got Audrey Horne. Which Twin Peaks character are you? If you get BOB, then we definitely can't be friends, because you're insane. 
  • Loving all of this
This photo is coming a little late (note the lack of snow) but in case you were wondering, this is what it looks like when your dog is a "humper"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Jams #45

Holy hangover batman. I'm finding I'm a little too old for that shit anymore. Had I gone home when I should have gone home this could have been avoided. Oh well, lesson learned. And it's a good lesson to learn right before the holidays since drinking and families typically go hand in hand. So as you gear up for the holiday weekend, be sure to take some time to unwind and relax, but enjoy yourself responsibly.

Cursive - "Staying Alive"
I went to the last Cursive show this past Thursday and they closed with this song, which has always struck an emotional chord for me. Tim Kasher has such a beautiful voice that was made for live performances. While I was watching the band play (and maybe holding back some tears) I was in awe of how amazing Omaha is and how it's filled with so many unique voices. It was an awesome reminder that we all have an individual voice which we need to use as often as possible. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Weekend - "July"
By now you probably know New Wave is my favorite genre of music, which would explain what I like so much about this band's sound.

Sunday Morning Meditation

This isn't as much a meditation as it is an ode to Kurt Russell. It's my friend Jess's birthday today and he's been threatening to get a Mount Russell-more tattoo for years now, so I thought I'd go ahead and just mock this up for him. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wind Down/Wound Up

This has been the slowest week I've had in a long time and because of that, I've been looking forward to the weekend even more so than usual. It's the final weekend before Christmas and thus for us all to pack in the Holiday fun with friends and family. I'll be making some more candy, doing some last minute shopping, and wrapping presents, among other things. If you're not too sure what to do with your weekend, never fear! We have some great suggestions for you. As the work week winds down, WO+SF and crew and getting wound up for the weekend.

FRIDAY December 20
  • I just realized that I haven't made it downtown to see the lights around the Gene Leahy mall! I just think they are so beautiful and I highly suggest it taking a stroll around the mall and then going to Mr. Toad's for some warm, booze-filled drinks! 
  • Darren Keen covers Daft Punk LIVE at House of Loom! No, he is not just playing samples from the songs, he is actually making them before your very eyes. It may be the best thing Omaha will ever get to real Daft Punk so go and dance your ass off!
  • For the past couple years we've been going ice skating at the small rink on the campus of UNMC. It's becoming a tradition and let me tell you, it helps you discover muscles in  your legs you totally forgot about. Or maybe that's just us.

SATURDAY December 21
  • Another thing I keep meaning to do is get to the new Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall
  • It's that time of month - time for Benson Soul Night! Two nights of dancing in a row to two very different kinds of music! Because how else are you going to exercise in this cold?

SUNDAY December 22
  • I haven't seen a movie in forever! It's the perfect cold weather activity though. Movies I currently want to see: American Hustle, The Hobbit, Nebraska, and... Film Streams once again brings us It's a Wonderful Life. I love, love, love this movie and it's the perfect end to a pre-holiday weekend. 

 Happy holidays! Check out this cool GIF Google+ mysteriously made for us all on its own.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Yummies

So, lately we've been wah wah wah-ing about not being more on top of the holiday game, and last night we remedied that. We (or rather Kerry) made a few of the stand-by's we made last year including salted caramels and chocolate butterscotch peanut clusters

Kerry's grandma has an incredible collection of recipes which are always entertaining to go through. In the age of the internet and Pinterest, you just don't see these laminated, hand-written recipes which were traded after successful parties between close groups of friends and families. Do we smell a party in the future where everyone brings a favorite dish to share, hand written recipe included?


^^It wouldn't be a night in the kitchen without an appearance by R. Kelly^^

^^The caramel may have turned out a little harder than we intended. The recipe calls for you to use a candy thermometer to ensure the mixture doesn't get hotter than the "hard ball" temperature and we may have surpassed it slightly. The bright side is that this recipe is so easy to make, re-doing a batch, while not ideal, is not all that time consuming^^