Year Three

We’re back! Thanks so much for bearing with us while we took some much-needed vacation (Zelda literally, Scout’s in the more metaphorical, lie-on-the-couch-with-no-pants-on sense of the word). And a huge shout out and massive thank you to all of you that took our reader survey! We are so appreciative and hope you’ll stick around as we enter our third year.

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Our lives have changed a lot since we first started this blog in August 2014. We’ve been through multiple jobs and apartments, made new friends and taken on other projects. The gusto of our first year faded after several months of three posts a week. So we took it down to two, hoping that would help us continue to see this as a fun creative outlet, rather than an onerous obligation. And for a while, that seemed to work. But we’ll be honest y’all: We’ve been adulting hard lately, and free time is severely limited, so there have been many weeks where getting even two posts up has been a struggle. And we don’t want that. We want to want to post: because we care about our readers, because we want to be proud of the content we’re sharing, and because this blog is, first and foremost, about two best friends and their labor of love.

So we are once again shaking things up. We’ve been through our naive infancy; suffered through the growing pains of our sometimes terrific, sometimes terrible, twos; and now we enter year three a little older, a little wiser, and brimming with excitement for what’s to come.

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What does this mean for you, our beloved readers? You’ll still get all your favorites (mostly) — playlists, required reading, food and cocktails posts, introspective ramblings about our lives. All of those will continue, and we’ve got some fun ideas about ways to keep them fresh and interesting. But these posts will only be coming to you once a week. We know, we know, most of you survey takers wanted us to keep it at two (or go back to three), but to be perfectly honest, we just don’t have it in us. We are busy ladies with busy lives, and if we were to attempt to keep up the current schedule, we fear the quality of our posts (and our friendship) would suffer for it.

This is not to say that you won’t occasionally get a multi-post week. Sometimes, we’ve got thoughts and feels that just need to come out. But in general, Tuesday will now be your Z&S day. And we promise to bring you one bangerang post every week that we’re proud of and feel is worth sharing, not just something we’re posting for the sake of having another day of content.

We’re super excited about what’s ahead, and we hope you are too. And if you have thoughts, feelings, gifs, etc. to share on the subject, find us on all of our social media channels or drop us a line at zeldaandscout@gmail.com! We’d love to hear from y’all. Come sit on our digital front porch for a spell: The sweet tea is cold, and the rockers have just enough squeak.

Until next week!

Love,
Zelda and Scout

Vacation, and A Little Homework

Hello lovelies, and happy August to you all! We can’t believe how quickly this summer is flying by; it feels like the past two months have vanished into a puddle of sweat and sunscreen. August is a special month for us here at Z&S. It’s the time when we take stock of where we are and how far we’ve come, when we look ahead to the next year and the path we want to take going forward. And it’s the month when we celebrate our blog’s birthday by taking a break.

That’s right folks, we’re off for vacation! Technically, Zelda is the only one following this statement literally, fleeing the streets of Brooklyn for the lakeside paths of her beloved New Hampshire. Scout’s vacation will be of the psychological and metaphorical variety, hopefully filled with beer and theatre amid the usual work and everyday adulting. But in blog terms, we’re both taking a breather — two weeks’ worth, to be exact — while we recharge and reassess. And that’s where we need your help.

See we don’t operate this blog in a bubble. To paraphrase the author John Green, we make this gift for those we love — namely, y’all. And so as we enter our third year in the blogosphere, we want to know how we can make this corner of the internet a more inviting home for you, somewhere you want to stop and sit a while with a glass of proverbial iced tea on our little digital porch.

So here it is: The First Ever Zelda and Scout Reader Survey!

What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you want to see more of? What do you never, ever want to read again? We want to hear it all, unfiltered and no holds barred. We hope you won’t resent us for giving you a bit of summer vacation homework.

Thank you in advance. You all make our lives — online and off — so much brighter. And we’ll see y’all in two weeks!

Love,

Zelda and Scout

August Round Up, And A Few Changes

Hello lovelies! Welcome back. Our little blogcation was lovely, thanks, but we missed you terribly, and are thrilled to be diving into year two! A few housekeeping things before we get down to business. This past year has been wonderful; we’ve written a lot of posts we really cared about and enjoyed, we’ve told stories we think need telling, and we’ve gotten to know so many of you in the process, which is hands down our favorite part. But while we’re proud of what we’ve done so far, we also wanted to take this little pause to reflect, and to think about how we can make this blog even better, to stay true to our mission statement and bring you the highest quality content we can.

We took a time out to celebrate our year of hard work, with barbecue of course.

We took a time-out to celebrate our year of hard work, complete with barbecue of course.

So, in that spirit, we’re making a few changes. First, and most significantly, we will now be posting two times a week instead of three, every Tuesday and Friday. We are both busy humans, and over the past year we’ve often found ourselves scrambling to come up with three posts a week on top of work and other projects. By cutting back on the frequency of posts, we hope to bring you content that is even more thoughtful and creative — quality over quantity, as it were. We’re also shaking up the schedule a bit, in light of our revised days. Tuesdays will be the new Mondays, with regular features every week. The first Tuesday of the month will be our playlist, the second will bring a little inspiration, the third will continue our series “Eat This, Drink That,” and the fourth will be a round up, like the one currently before your eyeballs. On Fridays, the field is wide open! Whether Southern or New York-inspired, cheeky or reflective, short or long, these posts will bring something different each week from one of us, with our focus remaining on telling human stories, expanding the Southern and New York narratives, and grappling with the concept of home, wherever you may find it.

Now there’s a chance we may decide we hate this new schedule, that it doesn’t work for us at all and we should go back to our original ways, or forge a new path altogether. But for now, we’re excited to give it a go. And this blog doesn’t work without y’all, our community, so if you have thoughts or feelings about how things are going (or about life, home, the best ways to consume bourbon, etc.), we want to hear them! You can always reach out at zeldaandscout@gmail.com, or on any of our social media platforms @zeldaandscout. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Thus begins Chapter II. Let’s do this.

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What We’re Doing: August was a quieter month for us on the blogophsere. After a little inspiration, some moving madness and summertime nostalgia, a playlist for a new chapter and some chili and bourbon to soothe our souls, we celebrated our blog’s first birthday with a break. Our two weeks off flew by, with new apartments and new jobs and new roommates and trips home to eat up our time, but they still gave us a chance to recharge and reflect, leaving us poised to tackle this second year of Zelda and Scout with renewed enthusiasm.

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What We’re Listening To: Our August playlist was all about new beginnings, as we roll right into our second year as internet creators with a soundtrack to match. Equal parts hopeful for the future and angsty about the changes to come, we’re striking out on our own with Audra Mae, “Letting Go” with Ben Sollee, wondering “What’s Going On” with 4 Non Blondes, and, when all else fails, shutting up and dancing with Walk the Moon.

We also love: Scout’s preparing for a myriad of fall concerts with Houndmouth, Motion City Soundtrack, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Zelda, living a similar concert prep life, has also been jamming to Houndmouth and bingeing on The Milk Carton Kids.

(Via Blastr)

(Via Blastr)

What We’re Watching: It’s a been a comedy month here at Zelda & Scout, inspired by a recent heated discussion on a Brooklyn rooftop. Scout (with help from the rest of our squad) convinced Zelda (and others in company) that it was of the utmost importance that she watch the entirety of the British sitcom The IT Crowd as soon as humanly possible (ever the diligent student, she proceeded to delve into the first two episodes that very night). The quirky Brits of this information technology department remind us that sometimes it’s best if you just “try turning it off and on again.”

We also love: Scout, like much of the country, has been loving Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, as well as the YouTube series Lovely Little Losers (both on Zelda’s to-watch list). Zelda meanwhile has been catching up on Hannibal and indulging in a little Chuck rewatch to get her through the unpacking madness. And from both of us, to you, we present this video, from the awesome folks at The Art Assignment.

(Via Glamour)

(Via Glamour)

What We’re Reading: We adore Mindy Kaling in all her forms, but this Shouts & Murmurs piece from the beginning of the month was particularly on point — a delicious riff on the fall’s coming TV attractions to tide us over until her new book and newly Hulu-housed Mindy Project grace our presence in September (In need of more Mindy? Glamour also brought us an excerpt from Why Not Me? this month, in which Mindy teaches all of us how to be a confident baller like herself).

We also love: This Buzzfeed listicle of our favorite Disney princesses in their greyer years (the predictions for what a heroine does in retirement are just delightful), this New York Times profile on Hamilton writer/composer/star and generally brilliant and talented human Lin-Manuel Miranda, this installment in Rachel Farrell’s new series for The Offing, “Rejected Book Titles,” this surprisingly moving profile of erstwhile blowhard and heir to the Late Night throne, Stephen Colbert, Girl Meets World star Rowan Blanchard’s wise-beyond-her-years Tumblr essay on feminism and what it means to be truly inclusive, and this birthday tribute to our perennial favorite John Green, who truly does make the world suck less.

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What We’re Eating: In the second installment of our Eat This, Drink That series, Scout cooked up a rendition of her grandmother’s white chicken chili. While we had to work with what Key Food had to offer (turkey instead of chicken, only one can of green chiles instead of two), it turned out pretty tasty. The post itself spawned a conspiracy theory among Scout’s family that her grandmother keeps her recipes purposely vague so that no one can make them like her, thus maintaining an iron grip on her culinary crown. Gaga’s response? Smile and sip her vodka tonic.

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What We’re Drinking:  The hot, sticky humidity of August had us reaching for all our favorite cold drinks. Zelda blended up some Southern goodness in the form of Mamrie Hart’s Alabama Blizzard. Scout took part in a sour beer event at her Home Away From Home, The Sampler. And there’s no way we’d survive this weather (or our lives in general) without many, many liters of iced coffee. And of course, don’t forget to hydrate! Our water bottles are our best friends these days.

What’s On Our Wishlist: Zelda is itching for fall, her favorite season. Her daydreams lately have been of the distinctly cozy variety: a fuzzy blanket to snuggle up in, boots made for leaf crunching, a new bag to fit her autumn palette. Scout is also dreaming of boots, the better to pound the Brooklyn pavement with, and she has her eyes on a video camera, so we can maybe turn this here blog into a blog/vlog…#daretodream.

Want a monthly dose of Z&S delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest to make sure you don’t miss out on a single bit of Southern-fried, Brooklyn-based goodness.

Looks Like We Made It

Greetings, internet darlings! Today is a very special day. After 52 weeks, 160 posts, and endless cups of coffee, we are celebrating our blog’s 1st birthday! (Ok, technically we don’t turn one until the 18th, but patience has never been our strong suit.) We have so loved being a part of your lives over the past year, bringing you three doses of Southern and New York goodness every week (sometimes more if we were feeling particularly generous/festive). This blog started as a way for two 20-something Kentucky ex-pats living in Brooklyn to figure out what home meant to us, to delve a little deeper into our roots while also forging new adventures in this city, and to tell human stories, both ours and yours. We’d like to think we’ve done a pretty decent job of sticking to these precepts, even when the cold or the commutes or the daily grind got us down. And the thing that has kept us going is you, your stories, your feedback.

We've been through a lot together, but this has been one our best adventures.

We’ve been through a lot together, but this has been one of our best adventures.

So from us to you, here’s a big ole hug and a thank you for sticking with us this far. After a year without any holidays or days off (the internet doesn’t believe in snow days), we’ve decided we’ve earned ourselves a little blogcation. So cheers to you, and to us. We’ll see you in two weeks! And we can’t wait to see what the next 365 days have in store.

In the meantime, to help tide you over in our absence, here are some of the posts we’re most proud of from this first year (after some agonizing and teeth gnashing, we’ve narrowed it down to a sweet 16 — the Sophie’s Choice of the blogosphere). From playlists to pillows and thoughts from you folks, these are the ones that continue to make us smile. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as we enjoyed making them for you.

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, we'll be here.

Winter, spring, summer, or fall, we’ll be here.

August Playlist: Highway Cruisin: We’ve made a lot of playlists over the past year, but this one continues to be one of our favorites.

Bless your heart, New York. You tried to make a mint julep.: One year later, you still haven’t learned, but hey, we tried.

Kentucky Seven (My Southern Heritage): Or how Zelda learned to love the Dixie in her blood.

An Open Letter to the Late Great Nora Ephron: Dear Ms. Ephron, You officially ruined us for life, for love, and for New York. But we love you anyway.

Home is Where the Throw Pillows Are: In which Zelda does some nesting and tries to apply the term “home” to New York.

October Playlist: Drizzly Morning, 3 a.m.: Our favorite playlist out of the bunch, and still our go-to soundtrack for writing, napping, or any rainy day.

Ease On Down the Road: Scout had to give up her car (Neville) when she moved to New York, and as she trades driving for sidewalk stomping she reflects on roads past, present, and future.

The 10 Minute Rule: You run into an acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while. You chat. Everything is smiles; our lives are going great. Then, about 10 minutes in, the truth starts to come out.

The Cab, The Cockroach, and The Crying Girl: According to Ted Mosby and Co., there are three things that make you a true New Yorker. Scout’s officially done them all.

A Cow on the Roof of a Cottonhouse, or How I Learned to Love Bluegrass: Scout stops worrying and just embraces the music of her people, of America, and of the Coen brothers’ finest film.

In the Heart of a Wooded Mountain: Lots of nostalgic pining for summers at sleepaway camp in North Carolina, combined with a healthy dose of why female friendships are so important.

Required Reading: Volume One: The first entry in what may be Zelda’s favorite series on the blog, this one was all about awesome Southern lady writers and the stories they tell.

All Other Nights: Scout reflects on being both a Jew and a Southerner on Passover, her favorite holiday.

Gilded City: In a corner of one of the many museums of New York, Scout reflects on the art of the Ashcan School, the Gilded Age, and the cracks in the golden armor of this fair city.

When the Sun Goes Down in the South: Some thoughts from Zelda on one of our favorite summer pastimes: nights at the track, betting and drinking and watching the horses fly by under the floodlights, otherwise known as Downs After Dark.

Just Folks: The Series: And last, but certainly not least, is all of you! Our favorite thing about this project has been hearing from all of you about home, wherever you find it, and the crazy burgoo of Southern experiences in New York. So thanks. We couldn’t have made it this far without y’all.

April Round Up

April is the cruelest month, or so T.S. Eliot says. Zelda’s roommate’s acupuncturist (yep) takes a different approach: She thinks April is an emotionally tumultuous time, because the plants are working so hard to break through the soil that it produces a lot of violent and negative energy, which in turn affects everyone’s mood. Whatever the reason — the plants, the poetry, or the fact that this year seems to be all cold and showers and very few spots of sunshine — April had us stressed out at first. But Scout got to go home, and Zelda had two of her bestest buds come visit, and the second half of the month had us fully ensconced in the most wonderful season of all: Derby. We celebrated in true Kentuckian ex-pat style, schooling all our Yankee pals on why this holiday is so important. And so we find ourselves full — of pie, bourbon, and warm fuzzies — and ready to tackle May.

Uptown Funk --- Zelda's daily commute.

Uptown Funk — Zelda’s daily commute.

What We’re Doing: The first half of this month saw some of your everyday spring content: some March Madness and Passover, spotlights on Audra Mae and Brittany Howard, a round-up of our favorite New York bloggers, and Volume Two of Zelda’s Required Reading (this time focusing on New York). We even added another Georgian to our growing list of good folks. But by the 17th we were in full blown Derby mode. From recipes (both culinary and cocktail) and playlists to party guides (both for throwing your own and celebrating in New York) and reflections on Thunder and Oaks, we let our Louisville flags fly. Some of you folks told us how much you missed Derby, and we were with you. Our Brooklyn celebration was a great success, true, but it’s never quite the same as being in our old Kentucky home.

Somewhere over the rainbow... (via PopWrapped)

Audra Mae (via PopWrapped)

What We’re Listening To: This month’s playlist was made for Derby day. From bluegrass classics to rap, rock, and modern folk, we covered all the bases, each track with a Kentucky spirit. Some of the artists are Z&S stalwarts — Houndmouth, The Avett Brothers, Audra Mae — while others were blog newbies, but all are beloved by us, both at Derby and all year long. This is a playlist we’ll be listening to for months to come, whenever we find ourselves on a subway or the street, hungry for a taste of home.

We also love: This jazzy update to “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” staple of many a high school car ride and enthusiastic sing-along gone by.

Crash Course IP with ThougtCafe Stan! (Via YouTube)

Crash Course IP with ThoughtCafe Stan! (Via YouTube)

What We’re Watching: Have we told you lately how much we love Crash Course? We’re big fans (Scout may have devoted a good portion of her master’s thesis to the YouTube series…), and we are all for their new mini-series discussing the complicated world of Intellectual Property, hosted by the often mentioned, but until now rarely seen, Stan Muller. Copyright never sounded so good, or so comprehensible. From two internet creators who are often intimidated by the world of proper credits, we salute you.

We also love: Our girl Grace Helbig premiered her E! Network show this month. It’s like a giant, high-budget, weekly version of her YouTube channel, and we’re enjoying it thoroughly. Scout’s binge of the month is the recently ended FX show Sons of Anarchy (all seven seasons available on Netflix), and Zelda has been lamenting the end of Mad Men (*sniff sniff*).

Via NYT

Via NYT

What We’re Reading: We’ve both always been enthusiastic ambassadors for the city of Louisville, but Zelda took her life’s mission to a whole new level this month as she claimed the title of Official New York Times ‘Ville Expert. From our brunch secrets to our favorite outdoor pizza joint, she spilled all to the NYT Travel section, and while it did make her homesick for her favorite underappreciated spot of sunshine south of the Ohio, it was also loads of fun.

We also love: Anne Lamott’s thoughts on life, writing, and the Cosmic Muffin. This lyric ode to the blaring, clicking, arm-crushing subway doors. Jennifer Moses’s journey through the heart of literary Louisiana. The perpetual badassery of certified awesome chick Amy Schumer. This spotlight on Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and a largely unsung feminist hero.

Because sometimes even never-ending mimosa's can't persuade us to leave the bed (Via QuarterLife Poetry)

Because sometimes even never-ending mimosas can’t persuade us to leave the bed (Via QuarterLife Poetry)

Who We’re Following: The bulk of our Instagram feeds these days is filled with sunshiney selfies, still lifes of iced coffee, and pictures of puppies, babies, and engagement rings from people with their lives far more together than ours. But this month we came across two new additions to our “Following” lists that brighten our phones with humor and insight, respectively. Quarter Life Poetry sometimes hits a little close to home, but its cheery illustrations and self-deprecating vignettes from the life of a twenty-something always make us chuckle. And Last Night’s Reading (already a Zelda favorite via Tumblr) provides us with enough quotable quotes to pass as an active member of the literati, without having to actually leave our apartments. Plus, Kate Gavino’s watercolor portraits are downright charming.

Via Keith Isaacs / Sugarplum Cake Shop

The chocolate, pecan and bourbon goodness of Derby Pie (Via Keith Isaacs / Sugarplum Cake Shop)

What We’re Eating: It wouldn’t be Derby without the trademark pie, and Zelda cooked up a bunch of it for our big Derby Shindig. Check out her recipe here for chocolate, bourbon, and pecan goodness. We also introduced our Brooklynite friends to the wondrous green world of benedictine. And just before our Derby festivities started, Scout made a quick trip home where she finally indulged (twice) in the dish she’d been craving all month: chicken liver toast with fig and apricot mostarda from her hometown hangout, The Holy Grale.

Mint juleps for days (Via Garden and Gun)

Mint juleps for days (Via Garden and Gun)

What We’re Drinking: This month has been very decidedly about bourbon here on Zelda & Scout. We spent half this month introducing you to the wonders of the Derby Festival, so it’s only right that we’ve been drinking mint juleps like it’s our job (we wish). When it comes to bourbon, you can drink it in one of these classic cocktails, neat, or on the rocks, but please, for the love of god, no mixers. That’s just blasphemy.

Let's put an awesome lady on our paper currency (Via Quartz)

Let’s put an awesome lady on our paper currency! (Via Quartz)

What’s On Our Wishlist: What do we want? LADIES ON UNITED STATES CURRENCY! Sure, we’ve got Sacajawea and Susan B. Anthony on a few of our coins, but isn’t it high time we had a woman on one of our bills? Check out this campaign to put one of American history’s awesome ladies on the twenty dollar bill (voting for the final round ends May 10th!). We’re also hoping that next year come Derby we will have hats as epic as these. And in the Derby spirit, Zelda is lusting after this print from Rifle Paper Company (which Scout already owns, lucky duck). Also she would like more wall space on which to hang it, and the rest of the RPC catalogue. Please and thank you.


Want a monthly dose of Z&S delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest to make sure you don’t miss out on a single bit of Southern-fried, Brooklyn-based goodness.

On Pen Names

As we were preparing to create this blog, we spent a lot of time on the question of what to call it. Names are a big deal — defining, as it were — and we wanted to get it right. We wanted something that would convey the best of the South, with its multiple facets, as well as New York. And, this being a joint endeavor, we wanted something that would reflect our partnership: a dynamic duo linked by an ampersand.

There were a lot of contenders — Moonshine Lullaby, Southern Gotham, and Bergeron & McCoy to name a few — but eventually we settled on Zelda and Scout, in honor of two Southern ladies we love, one real and one fictional. To us, Zelda and Scout represent two sides of the South, both near and dear to our hearts. Zelda is the belle of the ball, an opinionated firecracker always out for a good time who is unafraid to speak her mind. She is cosmopolitan, full of sass, and spunky as all get out. Zelda Fitzgerald herself was also a New York transplant, moving to the Big Apple with her husband F. Scott in the heart of the Jazz Age, which we thought was particularly appropriate. Scout, on the other hand, is a tomboy: unpretentious, down home, true to her roots, but no less fierce in her convictions than Zelda. She is deeply invested in her heritage, both personal and cultural, and in the communities she is a part of.

Both women represent a loyalty and pride of place that we find inherent to the South; friends from Connecticut or Ohio never seem to have strong affinities for their hometowns, but get a Southerner started about their particular homestead and they’ll talk your ear off (just ask us about Louisville). They are juxtaposed and yet in many ways very similar: dynamic, vivacious, independent, defiant of social conventions, and each with a clear voice.

All of us have a bit of Zelda and a bit of Scout in us. Like any person, or region, they are multi-faceted and not easily pinned down. In our choice of pen names, we do not seek to limit or define ourselves and our stories. We are not these women. But in picking up their names and carrying them for a while, we hope to imagine them complexly and to honor the things that make them great.

So Here’s the Deal

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Hello Friends,

Some of you may be wondering, “So, what exactly is this thing I just stumbled upon?” Much of it is still a work in progress, but here’s what we’ve got so far:

Zelda & Scout is a blog about home. It’s about being from the South and moving to New York. It’s about figuring out where you’re from and where you want to be, and how you reconcile the two. These are big questions, and we can’t find the answers all on our own. So what are we going to do?

We’re going to talk to you. Starting August 18th, every Monday, we will have a profile on some of the folks whose current mailing address is in the New York metropolis, but who do or at some point did call the South home. We’ll find out a little bit about who these people are, what brought them to New York and what keeps them here. We want to hear the crazy stories, the people who assume you’re a cowgirl or a farmer or that you secretly harbor feelings for your cousin. If you’ve got deep thoughts or existential dilemmas, we want to hear those, too. Preferably over a glass of bourbon.

We’re going to share our faves with you. From food to music to books and everything in between, we want to showcase the best of the South and the best of New York, and especially things that bridge the gap in between. From playlists to beer reviews to profiles on badass Southern ladies, we want to write about the things that make these two places great, or not so great — the flavor in this big ole crazy gumbo.

We’re going to get a little introspective. There may be some stuff about our personal lives. There may be some thoughts on the cultural landscape, regional vs. national identity, and the really freaking weird process of figuring out where home is. There may be some poetic waxing about air conditioning. We shall see.

If you have any thoughts or questions, things you’d like to see us write about, people you think we should interview, or if you just want to shoot the breeze about something on your mind, give us a shout! We welcome facebook messages, emails (zeldaandscout@gmail.com), and carrier pigeons. Just give us some warning about the last one: Nobody wants squashed pigeon on their window.

Thanks for listening y’all. Talk to you soon.

Love,

Z&S