Saturday, February 11, 2012


Day off in Ohio

A day off on tour is a very precious thing.  On tour days kind of seem to blur together, and the simple luxuries you have at home are no where to be found.  

I was talking to Andre (Our merch guy) on the bus the other day, and asked him, "Do you like touring?"

He sighed.  It was 1 a.m. He had to stay up late counting out merch quantities with the venue and giving them their cut. (At most shows, venues keep a percentage of merch sales.  The standard is usually 20%). Random fact. :)

"Yes and no," he said.  "I miss my family a lot.  I miss out on events. Ya know, birthdays, art festivals, mother's day.  But I like traveling a lot.  I like it too when I'm surrounded by good people."

I smiled. "I miss silly things."

"Like what?" he asked.

"Well, for example, on tour it sucks brushing your teeth.  It's have to go into the bay of the bus to get your suitcase out, dig for your toiletry bag, get your toothbrush out of the weird container, dig for a water bottle in the ice chest, and then brush your teeth outside with your one water bottle to last ya the time.  At home, it's like...the toothbrush is hanging out on the bathroom vanity by the toothpaste by the sink!"  

He laughed.

I know I'm just being silly now, but after a few weeks of tour, the thing I miss the most is just having everything conveniently out.  You need toe clippers, well, they're right here in the bathroom drawer! No big deal!  You don't have to pull 7 other people's bags out to find your bag stuffed in the back of the bay to grab those suckers out.

I hope you don't take this as me complaining about tour.  Because, obviously, I choose tour over any of the other stuff, from the small things like toothbrush convenience, to the big things, like missing my very large family at home in Utah.  But everyday I would choose tour.  Being up on stage is something I wouldn't give up, even though sometimes I get so nervous it scares the crap out of me.  I still want to get right back up on the horse.  Sometimes people ask me, "How did you overcome your nerves/fears."  My answer to that:  I haven't.  I don't think I ever will.  But what I have got control how I let the nerves and fear control me.  They're still there, lurking in the shadows, but I'll still go out on stage with a smile and a big middle finger to them.  Sure, you're still here...but so am I.  

Now, moving on to the present.  Today is a day off in Ohio.  I wake up in my bunk.  It's hot. Someone's snoring.  The humidifier is on but I can tell there's no water in it left.  It sounds funny.  The lights are all off.  I peek out.  Everyone's curtain in their bunk is closed.  No way!  Am I really the first person to wake up today?  I look at the clock on my phone. 9:45 a.m.  I am ALWAYS the last to wake. (Granted, I'm usually the last to go to sleep too.  I've been busy with Korean Rosetta stone so I can better understand my momma)!  

Wait a second...if I'm the first up...that means that I have a chance to be the first person in the hotel room...meaning, I COULD BE THE FIRST PERSON IN THE SHOWER!  That's enough to even pull me out of bed.  We have 9 people with us on the bus. 5 of them, myself included, are band. Andre- Merch dude. Rob - Tech.  Chase - Monitor tech.  Robert - Tour manager. We only get 1 hotel room. (Hey, we're on a budget here!) So...after 9 people get in one hotel room...the chances are, it doesn't look or smell that great later on.  The 9th person to get the shower is never a happy person.  Especially if all the guys shave in the bathroom.  Geez, they leave their hair EVERYWHERE!!!

I quickly put some warm clothes on, get my laundry bag (Yes, laundry is a must on every day off!) and run into the hotel.  I spot Meg on my way in.  

"Why are you up?" she asks astonished.

"I want to take a I the first one in the bathroom?" (After one person has gone...baths are a no no for me.  I just can't.....ew). 

"Yup you are."

"Excuse me," I say, as I scramble toward the elevator.

And as I'm sitting in the bath tub, a slather of honey on my face, (Home made mask!) and a little bit of lavender oil in the water, I think to myself...Awww, this is the life!  How grateful I am for this bath! 

I hear the door click open.

"Hello?" I call out.

"Just me," Meg says.  "Take your time."

Oh, I will.  I do.  I think about all the things I have to do on this special day off.  A day off is a time to go to the gym, find some healthy groceries, wash and fold laundry, reorganize the messy bus, clean sheets, write blogs to you!, think of songs to cover, wear no make up (yes!) and watch my favorite gooshy mooshy chick movies in the back alone.  Days off are nice days to have some time to yourself.

I turn on some more hot water.  And all of a sudden I get really excited.  I'm on tour!!!  I'm on tour with Blake Shelton!!!  I got to watch Miranda Lambert perform yesterday during his set.  What a performer and singer!  I feel like I've been learning so much this tour just by watching these people that I look up to so much.  I don't think Blake will ever know how much it means to me that he's taken us on tour.  If I truly expressed my feelings to him everyday, I'd just get annoying.  It would be me bursting into tears screaming, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."  But the end of the day, I couldn't be more happy to dig in the bus bay, dig in the toiletry bag, and dig for the water bottle to brush my damn teeth!  



P.S.  97.5 WQBE played me song "I will" the other day on radio.  I then quickly tweeted to my followers, "Please call the number to the radio station and request the song again."  I later called up the station to say thanks for playing it.  They told me that they had never had so many consistent callers asking for a song in a long while.  They said I have great fans.  It was at that moment that I realized how awesome you guys truly are.  It almost brought tears to my eyes. I love you!

P.S. My new merch store just finally opened! "RED" vinyls are now available too!  Here is the link!

For Tour Dates: (On tour now!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What's Cooking, Good looking?

I woke up this morning to a text from my little sister:

"Hey. Do you have any good ideas for Valentines for Jordan? (Her boyfriend). I'm not sure what to get him or what to do... Thanks."

Then of course my best friend calls me up.  She's been with her man for 3 years now.

I don't know what to do....I already got him art supplies for his birthday a couple months ago.  There's nothing that he really ...needs....What do you think I should do?

At first, talking about Valentines' day made me feel a little bit grumpy. Ok, fine.  A lot grumpy.  (Nice grammar Dia. High five). 

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, opened my bunk curtain and slithered out of my bus bunk.  The humidifier in the hallway had been knocked over a couple of times in the night due to the bumpy road.  The carpet was soaked, hence, my socks as well. (These aren't just any socks people. They have little faces on them and look like gophers. Yes, they make wearing socks way more fun. Yes...sometimes I am a child).   I walked to the front of the bus and peeked out of the window.  Pennsylvania.  Tour date...number 23? 15? 30?  It's hard to keep track of days on the road.  Our rider of dried apricots, apple cider vinegar, hummus, cups, plates, almonds, coconut water, etc. had arrived already.  I looked back at my phone and frowned. 

I went inside the arena and took a cold shower.  Jonathan (bass player) said that if you turn on all the sinks in the bathroom and all the showers in the shower room (Yup, gang showers), that it gets luke warm.  Eh, tepid would have been acceptable, but I think all the warm water was used up before me.  Being number 7 out of 9 to shower comes with consequences. I need to start waking up earlier.

However, the point of all this, is that after the cold shower, I felt an odd change of heart about the dreaded Valentines' day.  I know, I know.  You can tell me a million times that it's "just another day" or that "the flower companies invented it for money" but to me, it is a reminder of love and being loved.  But putting that aside, I decided to channel all of my negative energy, into positive energy for my sister and my friends, and maybe even you!  Now my "single and bitter" emotions shall hopefully dissolve once finished with this blog. And low and behold, I'm already getting more cheery.  I love to help people plan things, especially for people special to them.  So, with that being said......

I've always thought the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, just like my momma used to say.  However, don't think this counts you out boys.  Whenever a man has made dinner for me.... he's definitely gained some points in my book.  

Presents are all fine and dandy, but if you are lucky enough to be with your special someone on this special day, I think you should buy some candles and rose petals, dig out your lace tablecloth, and wipe the dust from your antique candle holders.  

With that being said, here are some of my favorite recipes that I have gathered over the years. (No, I didn't create any of them...and no...not all of them are vegan...but I cheat...sometimes!)  I hope this inspires some creativity when you're thinking of your Valentine this year! XOX - Dia

P.S. I don't know why some words are blue. Haha. Ignore them!

Scalloped Potato Gratin (Tyler Florence) 
4-6 large servings
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.
Note from Dia:  Make sure you slice the potatoes REALLY thin.  I use a machine to do this. (I'm a cheater). Dried thyme is fine, but if you can go the extra mile, scale your neighbors fence, outrun their dogs, and pick a fresh sprig from their garden, it makes a big difference. I bake my gratin covered with tin foil for 45 minutes, and then remove it, add cheese on top so that it crisps, and bake another 15 minutes.  (One time I had to bake this baby for an hour and a half, so check to make sure it's completely done and the potatoes are soft before turning off the oven).  This is fool proof boys! You got this!  

This next one is SUPER easy!  I Promise.  And very yummy....who doesn't like pasta?    
Creamy Farfalle with Asparagus and walnuts (Giada De Laurentiis)
6-8 servings (If you have 7 girlfriends or are from Utah this might be perfect for you!) 
  • Salt
  • 1 pound farfalle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and most of the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and saute until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the farfalle. Stir in the mascarpone and nutmeg and toss until the cheese coats the pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnuts. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Serve.
Dia's notes: I love nutmeg so I add just a tad bit more.  But the recipe portion is legit too!  It's kind of a sweet, simple pasta, so if you were looking for savory, this might not be for you.

Now, we both know that you can't seal the deal without desert!  And if she/he doesn't like desert...what in the heck are you doing dating them?!?
If you live in LA or NY you may have heard of Magnolia Bakery.  Magnolia bakery is a delicious bakery which is pretty popular for their cupcakes and cheesecakes, however, I think their banana pudding is off the wall! If this doesn't make them yours forever, I don't know what will.
Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 12-oz box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (recommended brand)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)

1. On medium speed of a stand mixer or in a small bowl, beat together sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Sprinkle pudding mix over the liquid and beat well until all the powder has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cover and place in refrigerator until completely set, about 3-4 hours or over night.

2. On medium speed of a stand mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in set pudding mixture until blended and no streaks remain (the mixture should be a pale yellow color).

P.S. before you do step 3.  I personally don't layer the bananas, cookies, etc. but just mix it all together, light and fluffy, in a big bowl.  But I know you're going for presentation here so... move onto step #3.  
3. In the bowl you wish to serve the pudding in, arrange 1/3 of the wafers on the bottom of the bowl, they may need to overlap to fit.

4. Then one third of the bananas as the next layer.

4. Then one third of the bananas as the next layer.
5. Then one third of the pudding mixture, repeat three times in total, until you fill the serving dish.
6. Save any bits of the wafers for garnish. Cover tightly and place back in refrigerator for 4 hours to chill. Garnish with crumbs and bits of the wafers.