in the sky essentials

As Erik and I are gearing up to go home for a week (and as I finish off a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food...), I'm going through a million lists in my mind of everything we need to accomplish before our 1:30 flight tomorrow. I absolutely love the feeling of the night before/day of a flight! I had a job for about 9 months where I got to travel every weekend. It was one of my very favorite things I've ever done. By the time I was done working that job, the check-in agents at O'Hare in Chicago knew my name and giggled every time they saw me coming with my 70 lb. suitcase and my huge pelican case with speakers inside. Most of the stuff was for the event I was working, not mine, I swear! I traveled to 30+ cities and I learned a lot at that job. More importantly, though, was how much I learned about packing and the things that you just don't forget when you're traveling.

1. Headphones. Don't get me wrong, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories but sometimes...you get seated next to an awfully loud, obnoxious, maybe cranky, or just an uninteresting human. Flying is such an escape for me and these headphones are a vital piece to those precious moments.

2. Chapstick. There have been a couple times where I could have cried when I realized I left my chapstick somewhere that wasn't my pocket. Burt's Bees has been with me through the thick and thin. I don't recommend getting on an airplane with the driest of air without it. It will save you hours of discomfort!

3. A good book. I always love the escape of diving into a really good, encouraging, challenging book and looking out the window while you are literally above everything else. It's so cheesy but it's one of my greatest joys in life. I can't tell you how much reading books by Steven Furtick, Christine Caine, David Platt - have all changed my life while on an airplane.

4. Ray Bans. Okay, so maybe Ray Bans aren't for everyone but I've had mine for almost 3 years now and they are my most prized possession. They have come in handy for really early flights and the occasional red eyes you're forced to take. I just throw them on and they instantly make me feel a little bit better about how little I actually attempted to get ready.

5. A blanket. I don't know if you're anything like me, but I'm literally always cold. I learned the hard way that forgetting a blanket on a flight is the literal worst. They stopped handing blankets out freely on flights so I started bringing my own and it was such a good life decision. I didn't have the blanket pictured above but I want it now more than I wish I had more ice cream to eat.

Someday I will do a post on how to effectively pack for a weekend, a whole week, or maybe even a whole summer but for now - don't forget these essentials when you're flying high in the sky!



the easiest enchiladas

I have a confession: My name is Vicky, I’m 21, I love to cook, and I meal plan like C R A Z Y. I have a spreadsheet with my veggies, meats, cheeses, groceries, and random stuff separated out - a total nerd, right? I’m sure I will elaborate on that more later. There is one thing that I am more confident in than almost anything I cook - I make THE best enchiladas. I certainly wouldn't dare say that mine are authentic, Mexican enchiladas but for what I'm working with, I'm told I do a pretty good job. 

My very favorite enchilada's that I've ever made/fed to anyone in my life have been topped with Rick Bayless' Green Chile Enchilada Sauce. It's literally one of my favorite things I've ever tasted. Guess why I bought it? Tomatillo's. And that is why this sauce is perfection. The saddest news, though - I can't find it anywhere anymore! You can buy it online, which I might do, in bulk. I improvised for this recipe and used a jar of his tomatillo salsa which is still amazingly delicious. I would love to try my hand at homemade enchilada sauce - when I do, I'll be sure to share all of that tomatillo goodness with you!

5-6 taco size flour tortillas
1 can ro-tel (mild, medium, chunky - however you like it)
1 can black beans
1/2 cup of corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked rice (I admit, I use 5 minute rice. Don't judge.)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder (depending on how spicy you like things!)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup tomatillo salsa
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, mix ro-tel, black beans, corn, rice, seasonings, a little bit of shredded cheese, and a little bit of the salsa.
Place in center of tortilla, roll, and place in baking dish.
Repeat until you run out of room/filling.
Top with as much or as little salsa as you like.
Add cheese to your heart's desire.
Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and the edges are browned.
The easiest, quickest recipe. I love to leave mine in a little longer because I love the taste of crunchy tortilla's around the edge. Totally up to you, though!


shades of yellow

Since being in Florida, mine and Erik's lives have been constantly challenged - from changing our everyday routine (every month because of school) to clothes that we wear because it's SO HOT. The friends that I've made here have inspired me tremendously through their outfits and the way they encourage me to try new styles. Even though I absolutely love the color, the length, the pleats, just everything about it, I've only worn this skirt once since I bought it! I've always struggled with styling it so I left it up to Melissa (my beautiful photographer friend) and Alli (my sweet, insanely gorgeous, pregnant, California-native friend) to make this outfit happen. Alli brought this shirt from her closet, it was one that her friend had gotten her at a garage sale in San Diego! Melissa swooned as soon as she saw it so we put this outfit together and went out to the Maitland Art Center to shoot these incredible photos.

This headband is from an online boutique called Heirbloom. I met Ahndea through our church in Rockford and fell in love with her stuff - especially this headband! I love that for almost any outfit this headband is all you'll need. It's amazing because of its simplicity yet it still makes a bold statement.

What I Wore 
Headband | Heirbloom
Top | Alli's Closet
Skirt | Old Forever 21 - Similar Here!

Who is inspiring you this summer? Whether it be fashion, art, photography, music, blogs - we would love to hear what is motivating you this season!

all photos by Melissa Audrey Dahlman - check out more of her work on Tiny Bones. I'm thankful for her, her talent, her friendship, and her zucchini muffin baking skills. 


a slow monday

Good Afternoon! I have finally peeled myself out of my cozy bed after a looong weekend! Harp & Angle was a vendor at the Chicago Renengade Craft Mini Market. So John and I spent the weekend commuting between Rockford and Chicago. Late nights and early mornings really take a lot out of you! Saturday, just before the market was about to close we all had to rush to pack up FAST, due do the most torrential down pour I have seen in a while! I don't think I have ever cleaned so fast! Luckily Sunday was a beautiful day and everyone stayed dry.:) It was a great weekend though, despite the commute and the rain! There were so many great vendors. Some of which Juke will be featuring soon! So be keeping your eyes open for that! We finished off our weekend at one of our favorite spots in the city, Longman and Eagle. Here are a few Instagram pictures I snapped over the weekend.:)

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I am going to be relaxing and organizing. But first COFFEE! :)



listening to | a new series

Music, for the both of us, has always been at the core of our being. Sara was a dancer so she was surrounded by music. I played piano for 9 years. We are so thankful for all of the opportunities music has given us throughout life.

For me, music has taken me a million different places that it's hard to even put into words. Whether a choir I was in took me to Europe, my first date with my husband was at an Underøath concert, or it just made me feel better after a rough day - it has always been the biggest part of my life. I love thinking back on different seasons in my life and what songs really impacted me at that time. When I was 18 and decided to move to Florida for the first time, it was "You are a Tourist" by Death Cab that made my final decision for me. When I was faced with a hard decision about a job I was working, it was "Give Me Faith" by Elevation Worship. I love what music does to me and to a million other people in the world - it brings hope and strength. I am so thankful for this creative outlet that it's given me, Sara, our husbands and all the amazingly talented people out there.

Underoath in St. Pete, Oct. 20, 2011.
With that: we are excited to announce a brand new series of what we're listening to. Sara and I are rock n' roll chicks at heart, but we love to keep our minds open to all different genres and we cannot wait to share with you! We will introduce different bands, talk about why we love them, and occasionally review shows we go to!

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
― Berthold Auerbach


Mens Style | HM Summer Style

A post for all of the men out there! This style post is inspired by my husband John. His style is very classic and simple. Don't get me wrong he loves a good band tee and looking a little rugged, but most of the time you will find him looking like James Dean. Haha. 

I always love the Men's section at H&M. It's a perfect shop if you're looking for that classic clean look while keeping a nice budget. I actually love styling for men, so I had a lot of fun creating these outfits for a full summer day! Take a look at some of my picks! What are all of you men wearing this summer? Will you be adding any of these to your closet?

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H&M Beachwear | SunglassesTrunksSandalsCap.

A cool and clean beach or pool look. Guys, don't forget your cap!

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H&M Summer Day | Tee. ShortsBoots.

A lightweight and simple outfit for a summer day. You can never own to many basic tees!

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H&M Summer Night Option One | BlazerShirtOxfordsChinos.

A classy look for a summer night.

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H&M Summer Night Option Two | ShirtChinosBoots.

Men wear your boots year round. They are always a good idea :)

I hope this inspires our male readers out there!



summer dinner party inspiration

Sara and I dream of having dinner parties together, but due to the distance all we can do is dream. Oh someday, please come soon! Hosting people for a dinner, a party, an overnight stay - anything involving entertaining - is our jam. There was a season in my life, when I was renting my first apartment, and all I did was cook dinner for people. It cultivated beautiful friendships and lasting memories. My first memory of Sara and I really connecting was over a dinner of my Mom's signature roast. Since then, these words have rung so true: "I can't imagine life without a table between us" from Shauna Niequist's book, Bread & Wine. (Lindsay Letters also created a beautiful canvas with those words!)

Jenger Shay Photography
We desperately wish we were together, especially as we enter these summer months. Summer dinner parties have such an air of effortless beauty because the outdoors provide the most perfect, natural setting. Sara has such an eye for decorating and I would love to create all sorts of special elements to compliment her design. We both love to cook and it would be so amazing to bring both of our palettes together and show off to our sweet friends. Here are some summer dinner parties we are swooning over while dreaming of our very own.

The Fresh Exchange
A dinner party, in Nashville, with the Peach Truck? Yes. Yes, please! We found this on The Fresh Exchange and immediately fell in love. One reason we love Nashville is because of the sense of community that it cultivates. Such a beautiful thing! Enjoy these pictures and their simplicity & yummy food!

A Daily Something
Above is a beautiful, beautiful party that was featured on A Daily Something. There is nothing sweeter than friends gathering for a cause. Adoption is such an amazing thing and certainly something to be celebrated - especially at a beautiful dinner party like this one!

Camille Styles
Such a fun picnic inspiration from Camille Styles! Going back to the easiness of summer as a kid sounds so great, huh? This would be such a fun thing to do with some girlfriends on a saturday afternoon. I love all of the personal touches like the sandwich place cards! 

Local Milk
Okay, so this one isn't outdoors, but OH! It is so beautiful. We found this on Local Milk and we would have done anything to have been on that guest list. Cannot wait to try that Blackberry BBQ Sauce sometime - soon! 

A Beautiful Mess
And, of course, it wouldn't be a summer party post without talking about A Beautiful Mess! Does that drink not look amazing? Obsessed with the way the food matches the decorations and the way they absolutely captured early summer nights. 

Are you guys looking forward to entertaining this summer? We can't wait to see what this summer has in store for all of us - especially in the way of parties with LOTS of food! 


corn and roasted poblano pepper empanada

Orlando has some pretty amazing food and I am forever grateful because I love to eat. Something that makes Orlando super unique is the abundance of food trucks - it is so cool! We certainly didn't have anything like it growing up in Southern Illinois. We did, however, have Winston's Bagels. (a bagel cart. on the strip. for all the SIU kids.) Not quite as cool as a food truck. My favorite food truck, hands down, is La Empanada. They serve the best empanada's of my life! Luckily, they are parked down the street from Rifle every Thursday and if you work locally, you get a free mini dessert empanada! Dark chocolate and sea salt? Nutella with strawberries? Praise. 

I love empanada's because there is no end to the creativity of what goes inside - it is such a good chance to experiment with what flavors you enjoy together most. I saw this recipe on A Couple Cooks, again. (I am obsessed with their recipes lately!) The original calls for a pizza dough as the shell to make it into a calzone but, to save time, I substituted a pre-made empanada dough. I'm thinking this recipe is a great side dish to the tomatillo soup we posted last week - add in a great cilantro-lime quinoa salad (recipe coming soon!) and it is the perfect combination for a summer dinner party!  
OR they are amazing all by themselves. I won't tell you how many I ate in one sitting...

4 large-ish poblano peppers
1 red onion
1 fresh corn on the cob or 1 cup frozen corn
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 package of 10 goya empanada shells, thawed
2 cups shredded monterrey jack cheese
1 egg

Turn your oven to BROIL
Cut the red onion into thin slices (like you would for a hamburger!)
Put the onions and whole peppers on a baking sheet and cover with enough olive oil to coat.
BROIL for about 10 minutes, until the tops start to look blackened. Flip the peppers and toss the onions around then BROIL for another 10 minutes, until the peppers are blistery.
Take the onions and peppers out of the oven and let them cool down.
Turn your oven down to 450.
If you’re using fresh corn, take this time the cut the corn off of the cob.
After the peppers are cool enough to touch, cut them into thin slices.
Put all of the vegetables into a bowl and add seasonings, including the freshly chopped cilantro. Stir until combined.
Try not to eat all of it right now because it smells and looks SO GOOD. I, of course, forgot to take a picture of this step because I was so anxious to finish so I could eat them all!
Lay out the empanada dough. On half of the dough, add a little cheese with a little bit of the pepper mixture. Fold over and seal with a fork. Do this with all 10 empanada shells. (I sometimes have a little bit of pepper mixture left – eat it. It’s the best.)
Beat the egg with a little bit of water and brush on top of the empanada’s. (This makes the tops brown and beautiful!) Carefully place onto an oiled baking sheet.
Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes, when the tops are browned.

recipe adapted from acouplecooks.com


tennessee maxis

hey y'all! I'm excited to show you this cute little outfit I threw together a couple weeks ago when we visited Nashville. I wasn't expecting to be as chilly as it was so I didn't pack very well. Thank goodness I thought to bring this super comfy maxi skirt! I was hoping to not have to wear a jacket and just this cute new top from UO! I love it! It's fun to wear with high waisted bottoms or if your feeling sassy to show off a little midrif. It was a bit to chilly though so I grabbed my favorite Levi's jean jacket and threw on my HM booties!

What I Wore
Skirt | Old Navy
Top | Urban Outfitters
Jean Jacket | Levi's via UO
Boots | HM
Necklace | OU



Sara's summer beauty must-haves

 photo b8ef522a-fa7b-4ef7-9399-237269c0e746.jpg First. I cannot live with out my St Ives Lotion I use this daily and love it! I really like how light it is yet still gets the job done. Two. When Im going for that beachy look i love my Aquage Sea Salt Spray. Three. Dust on a little bit of MAC Bronzer to bring out your summer glow! This is my favorite bronzer of all time. Four. Hair always tends to be much more dry in the summer, from catching all those ray but this Moroccan Oil will keep it looking fresh and shiney! Five. Rosebud Salve will forever be my favorite. I have used this daily for as long as I can remember. Grab some you won't regret it! Six. Hold down those humid fly aways with, in my opinion, the best smelling hairspray ever, Moroccan Oil Hairspray Strong Finish. Seven. I personally try to wear as little makeup as possible in summer so this is my go-to mascara. Just a little Maybeline Colossal and your set! Eight.  Just finish off your look with your favorite summery scent. Betsy Johnson is my fave!



a tomatillo soup

we have this friend, Jared, who is a phenomenal cook. One time, Jared + Ciara (Jared's gorgeous wife) invited E + I over for National Margarita Day and, despite Ciara and I having to squeeze 3,000 limes for the margaritas, it was a meal that is completely unforgettable. Jared and I are kindred spirits in that we LOVE spicy food - like, so SO spicy.

Jared grows some of his own peppers so I always loved going over to their house because I knew it would be tasty and spicy and perfect. Jared made a roasted tomatillo-pepper salsa that night. oh. my. gosh. I had never even heard of tomatillo’s before and after the first bite, my whole life was changed. Now, whenever I see tomatillo’s in the store, I buy them. When I see them used in a recipe, I make it. When I see them on a menu somewhere, that’s what I get. I’m obsessed. When I saw this recipe on acouplecooks.com, my heart jumped for joy and I am so excited to share it with you! This one is for you, Jared and Ciara.

If you’ve never worked with tomatillo’s before, look for ones that are small, still have the husks completely attached, slightly brown, and are firm when you grasp them. When you peel them, they’ll be a little sticky but you can just rinse that off super easy!


12 tomatillos
1 red onion
2 jalapenos
3 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 can black beans
1 can hominy
Black Pepper
Feta Cheese

How to Make:

Preheat your oven to 450.
Chop the tomatillos, red onions, jalapenos, and garlic.
On a baking sheet, place the chopped veggies and drizzle with olive oil to coat and sprinkle a little salt.
Roast in the oven until they are soft and noticeably brown, about 20 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, rinse the hominy and black beans.
After the veggies are roasted, pour them into a pot with the vegetable broth.
Use a hand blender to puree the mixture (or put it in a blender.) I like to leave mine a little chunky because, well, I love tomatillo’s.
Add the rinsed black beans and hominy.
Add a few sprigs of cilantro and bring the soup to a boil.
Lower heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes and season with salt.
Pour into bowls and sprinkle with black pepper.
If you're a fan of Feta, I added some to mine and it was delicious!

adapted from A Couple Cooks