May 19, 2016

CONCRETE JUNGLE’S 2ND ANNUAL FRUIT RAMBLE

Sunday the Concrete Jungle crew took folks on bike and foot around the city educating us on the wild growing fruit they pick and donate to the homeless and hungry. I was with the biking group that started and ended at Mother. We went through Old 4th Ward, Cabbagetown and Grant Park stopping at trees, bushes, vines and even the zoo! Here’s a short recap of our sunny afternoon-

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CJ co-founder Craig who handles most of the mapping design and engineering recently created these tags for the plants they pick from.  It not only says “hey! you found a resource we use to feed the hungry” but also encourages you to lend a helping hand. Is this fruit tree ready to be picked? Let CJ know! Snapping and sharing on Instagram? Tag CJ!

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My bike companion for the day, Ryan, enjoying some ripe service berries.

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Service berries up-close. Tasted like blueberries with a hint of vanilla. Since they are small it’d take forever to pick them so what they typically do is lay down a tarp and shake the tree silly. They also do this with apples and mulberries.

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We were all very excited to see the maypop. It’s a hardy fast-growing vine that produces a small yellow fruit. Aubrey referred to it as a ‘very complicated flower’ which is a perfect description- so many components!

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Peaches! Did you know Georgia is NOT the peach state it’s actually South Carolina. But it’s on our license plates so we’ll just keep the claim!

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Ramble ended back at Mother for games, a raffle and drinks! Pictured here is the foraged mulberry cocktail- little tart, touch of sweet with a punch of vodka.  Yum!

You may be surprised at all the fruit growing around the city, even KIWI. See a full food map here.

CJ is always looking for volunteers to help with the garden or on fruit picks, if you’re interested visit concrete-jungle.org for more info!

Tonight we leave for Hangout Music Fest, expect a recap of that up next.  Have a good weekend!

May 5, 2016

CINCO DE MAYO PICNIC

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

My favorite food group has a holiday! Jk, I know it’s about more important things but we Americans have made it into being all about tacos and tequila-I’ll admit it :P

I cannot express how excited I am to show last night’s hard work! Maggie (from my last post, the crazy talented artist) and I combined forces yesterday and styled a Cinco de Mayo themed picnic in my backyard! We used a blanket Dustin and I got on our honeymoon as the color inspiration, the new German beer garden table as a centerpiece, her hand-lettering skills, props from our personal collections and worked as a team creating the cutest outdoor party! Seriously so proud and happy with the turn out! It was planned for Sunday but thunderstorms got in the way so we both did anti-rain dances that it wouldn’t rain yesterday and low and behold we got a pretty night to shoot our visions!

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Pumped to have used my DIY’d indigo napkins from this post and our new wedding porcelain dishware from Villeroy & Boch. As I knew she would, Maggie brought it strong with her prop additions, loved the gold flatware which was something we wanted for our wedding, got but then realized they weren’t dishwasher safe and that wouldn’t work for everyday use. These have re-inspired me to look into adding some to our collection!

The colors popped so much after we added the sheepskin “cushions.”

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Maggie came up with two drinks (besides our crisp, cold, delicious Corona Lights- gotta have those!) that would definitely impress your attendees- a DIY cocktail bar and salted rim shooters!

Rosemary and Jalapeno Palomas—

I love herbs and spice in my warm weather drinks but I find it common at parties that some people lean toward spicy while others prefer fresh cooling flavors, so I love to set up a choose your own path cocktail bar!

Make ahead:
Grapefruit Juice- Juice from about 6 Large Sweet Grapefruits (on average you will get 1 cup of juice per fruit)
Infused Simple syrup- 1 cup of water to 1 cup of Sugar bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved, allow syrup to cool for 15 minutes and add the warm mixture to bottles containing fresh rosemary sprigs and jalapeno slices, refrigerate and use for up to 14 days.

Other ingredients:
Jarritos Grapefruit Soda/ or Seltzer Water
Gold Tequila

For each drink over ice, add 1/4 cup juice, 1/4 cup tequila, the juice of one lime wedge, a splash of the simple syrup(s) of your choice and top with Grapefruit soda or sparkling water, for a lower calorie version.

A traditional Paloma has a salted rim but I also like to give party goers the option to skip the salt by setting a salt shaker with flavored salts (rosemary salt is a great addition!) to the cocktail bar to add to drinks.

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Tequila Shooters—

Chilled Gold Tequila
I cut a tiny slit in a lime slice and ran it around the rim of the mini coupe and then dipped the top of the glass into a saucer with homemade Sriracha salt. Spicy with a warm bite!

Sriracha Salt:
Mix one part Sriracha hot sauce with 5 parts salt, spread out on a baking sheet and allow it to dry for 48ish hours.

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You probably thought we’d go with tacos for this picnic but since Dustin and I have made this chicken 3 times now after discovering it on Budget Bytes figured I’d give it the credit it’s due!  You should check out* her recipes, money-saving and tasting! We’ve tried lots and they are all pretty easy too.

*Since I followed her recipe exactly, please follow link if you wish to know how to make-it’s so easy!

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My version of Mexican street corn—

Peel back husks and remove the silk strings, rub with butter and sprinkle on black pepper, re-put husks back over and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Then coat with mayo, sprinkle crumbling cheese and top with avocado yogurt ‘dressing’ (Taken from this recipe.)

For the spicy slaw I cheated and got pre-cut raw organic veges, added Sriracha mayo, red onions, radishes and called it a day-very good! We were piling it on chips haha!

The beans were the canned organic spicy kind we buy all the time. Usually eat with yellow rice and green chilies. I prefer black beans over re-fried any day!

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Maggie pulled colors from our blanket and NAILED IT! That peony opened up so much from the time she texted me a photo at 11:00am – it was wild!

The flowers were inspired by your blanket and Frida Kahlo. For the deep pink/red accents, I looked extensively for buganvilia sprigs but had to settle for clippings from my neighbor’s knockout rose bushes (with permission!).

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Hope you enjoyed our collaboration! It was so fun brainstorming with her and then bringing it all to life! I give the table some credit because it was after I bought it at Scott’s I knew it would make for a great backdrop. That and the warming temperatures lit the fire under my rear to get together with Maggie, I can’t wait until we do another!

It’s officially after 5 o’clock here which means CINCO DE MAYO HAPPY HOUR! And since you’re just now seeing our awesome idea, feel free to do this for any Summer day, no holiday needed!

Enjoy the evening and be safe out there!

April 28, 2016

A BLAIRSVILLE BIRTHDAY

Back in February I had the pleasure of photographing a friend’s thirtieth birthday up in Blairsville, GA.  This friend, Maggie, is a very talented calligrapher, stylist, curator, host…the list goes on!  Knowing these skills I knew it was going to be GOOD.

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As I predicted it was dreamy! We pulled up to a beautiful two-story cabin that overlooked Lake Nottely with a mountain view. The dinner featured hand-lettered menus, enamelware, foraged greenery, plaid (!!!), cutest mini wood and gold flatware and many more of Maggie’s touches. Lets let the photos do the talking –

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The birthday lady!

I asked her what made her pick this spot and she said with certainty it was the raw wood table!  I’m sure the view also had something to do with it but I agree, it is a really good table for hosting such an epic evening!

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She mixed her own chairs with chairs from the cabin for a fun mixed-matched seating arrangement.

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OYSTERS!

Did I mention she has a knack for presentation?!

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After this party I was so obsessed with oysters. Remember my recap post from Oysterfest? We went because I enjoyed eating them so much this day!

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Working her magic on finishing touches.

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It was pretty when the sun was shining bright but every hour it got a little darker it kept getting better and better!

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I wish I could photograph these type of events all the time!  Seriously a dream.

Stayed for the meal, party and after party!  Thanks for letting me take a part in your special day and bomb party Maggie!