recipe: nashville hot bacon (with Gluten-Free version)

Guys. This recipe is sinful, but it had to be done. I (Savannah) am obsessed with hot chicken, often referred to non-Nashvillians as Nashville Hot Chicken. I don't eat it as much as I'd like, which is probably a good thing, but Casey has celiac and the lines are pretty long, so there's that. My mom actually had hot chicken while she was visiting and immediately tried to make it when she returned back to Texas, which I was like duh! I can make this at home and do a gluten-free version so Casey can eat it too. But we just skipped the chicken part and did it with bacon. Now if you have too many of these pieces of bacon, you might feel gross. That's why a couple of these on a sandwich or salad may be the best way to go. But not gonna lie, it's pretty delicious just straight up dipped in ranch.

There are a couple of things that are very important when it comes to this recipe. First off you want to use thick cut bacon and this is a must. If you don't. the bacon will get lost in the breading. (Ahh I can't believe the words I am saying... our health coach and personal trainer are going to cringe if they read this.) Second thing- cut the slices in half, it just makes the whole process easier. Also, the only thing different between the regular recipe and gluten-free is that you use brown rice flour instead of regular flour. We tested it and it's just as good and fried up exactly the same way.

But let's get this party started.

Nashville Hot Bacon
- 1 lb. Thick Cut Bacon (slices cut in half)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk (I used almond, but really any milk will work that isn't flavored)
- Hot sauce (I used Texas Pete's)
- 2 cups flour (or brown rice flour for GF)
- 2 1/2 tsp. salt
- Dash of black pepper
- 3 Tbs. Cayenne Pepper (You can use up to 6 Tbs to make it hotter, but trust me, 3 Tbs is HOT)
- 1 Tbs. Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp. Chili Powder
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- Vegetable oil for frying

1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and hot sauce.
2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and a dash of black pepper.
3. In another bowl mix together cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder and paprika.
4. One piece at a time, dip your bacon in the wet mixture and then into the flour mixture, and then back into the wet mixture and back into the flour mixture. Set piece aside and repeat on all pieces.
5. Heat a pot of oil on medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees. I used about 4 cups.
6. Fry about 3-4 pieces at a time for 4-5 minutes. Just look for that golden crisp.
7. Pull out each piece and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.
8. Once all your pieces are fried, let the oil cool down for a second and ladle about 1/2 cup frying oil into the spice mixture. This doesn't have to be exact as you can always add more oil if needed, so it's best to start with a little at a time. If you don't feel comfortable using the hot oil, just use some fresh vegetable oil. We are looking for a loose paste consistency. Thick, but spreadable.
9. Brush on the spice paste to each piece of bacon, and make sure you get it everywhere!
10. Serve immediately!
Now I didn't end up frying up all my bacon. I just knew we couldn't eat all of it, but it would be perfect for a gathering- maybe fourth of July? You can also throw these in the oven at 375 degrees to keep them warm until serving. I also reheated them the next day for some friends to try and they crisped up pretty nicely in the oven. They did loose some of their spice paste as it ran off with the heat. I'm not going to lie... I thought that maybe when we were done making this that it would be too rich and a little too much, but sadly t's actually pretty delicious. You definitely have to try it out. At least once! Bacon party anyone?
Let us know if you try it or change anything up! I definitely put too much brown sugar the first time and had to fix that, but maybe you like that spicy sweet mix? Anyway, just try it. You won't regret it. (Unless you eat many pieces.)xo, Savannah

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Before and After: A Moody Boho Sitting Room

Of all the rooms we have decorated this is probably our favorite one to date and it's not even in our own house! The before and after is a drastic change from one style extreme to another. We took the walls from pale yellow to navy blue. From 90s decor to the 70s and back to 2017. There is definitely a 70s vibe going on here, but the dark walls make the room more modern. The clean lines give the a couch a midcentury modern feel, but that is offset by the bohemian style pillow in the middle. There is definitely a mixture of old and new which is what gives this room a very eclectic but cozy feel. This room took a while to come together but we think the result is stunning (if I do say so myself).
This room could handle such a dark color because there is so much natural light. But with such dark walls, we knew that we wanted to keep a lot of the accessories light and airy- specifically with the curtains. These windows are one the greatest features of this room, so we really didn't want to weigh them down with heavy curtains.
We forgot to take the "before" pictures before we took some of the bulky furniture out of the room. Here you can see we had already put the rug down. :) I am glad we were able to get some "before" pictures anyway, even with the couch gone. Picture a massive dark brown leather sofa in this room with a round wood coffee table. 
In some ways it was hard to let this rolling desk go. The desk is in great shape and I really like the look of it. However, it was too big for this room and was just being used as a place to store junk. 
These french doors are (insert praise hand emojis here) fab! Savannah and I tried to figure out where we could install french doors in our house somewhere (we do have some in our studio that open to the deck). We just LOVE having them as interior doors. Unfortunately the paint color doesn't really show up very well but the color is a very pale muted pink with a tiny touch of purple. 

The light blue color on the wall was a color we considered using but decided to go with the navy instead. We had bought the rug and when we rolled it out we realized that a light blue color would be too "sweet" feeling. 
This gallery wall. Bless. This is definitely what took the longest to put together- the longest in acquiring the pieces and the longest assembling. I wish I could tell you some easy way to layout a gallery wall. All I can tell you is to lay everything out on the ground and keep moving pieces around until it looks right. :) One tip I do have is to have a variety of shapes and sizes. When we first laid out everything we had, we quickly realized we had too many of the same shape + sized pieces. It just wasn't working. This wall is a mixture of old and new things which I think is another tip for a great gallery wall. 
The bookshelf was our last thing to style because we had spent so much time + energy gathering the pieces for the gallery wall. After that was complete we were able to shift our attention to finding the right pieces for this bookshelf. We found the books on the bottom shelf at yard sale- $3 for all of them. They are a collection of Readers' Digest stories which our client enjoys reading, and they also look really great. 
These rattan chairs were a great find and were only $60 for the pair. Savannah made new cushions for them with a fabric we have used in our own house. We weren't 100% sure they were going to be right when we bought them, but we are glad we took a risk. Again, we didn't want a big heavy chair blocking the view of those windows. 
Well we hope you enjoy this room as much as we do! We tried to list as many of the items from the room as possible. If it's not listed below, then more than likely it was a vintage find.

Paint (walls): Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
Paint (french doors) Benjamin Moore Wild Aster
Rug: Rugs USA
Coffee table: We are not saying because it's horribly made and no one should buy it. Buy this one instead.
Side tables: Justina Blakeney 
Curtains: Urban Outfitters
Bookshelf: Target
Horse Bookends: Gas Lamp Too (Similar)
Floor lamp: Target
Lamp: Target
Rattan chairs: Miss Lucilles (Similar)
Chair cushions: DIY'ed made from Nate Berkus fabric
Chair pillows: Anthropologie
Long couch pillow: Anthropologie
Couch: Article
Woven basket planters: Welcome Home Shop
Blanket ladder: World Market
Hexagon mirrors: Apple + Oak
Wood triangle (gallery wall): made by 1767 and purchased from Apple + Oak
Peace art (gallery wall): Spring
B+W framed textile: Spring
Dreamcatcher: Vintage Rubia
Willie Nelson picture (gallery wall): DIY (found picture online and had it printed at Staples) frame from Michaels

Where You Should Eat In Tulum

Where to eat

Let me start by saying that there is no wrong place to eat in Tulum. As far as we know. You're going to search the web and see 20 restaurants that different people say you have to go to. And there are even more than that to explore.
But our highest recommendation goes to Hartwood. You will read all different kinds of reviews on this restaurant, but there is no denying that the food could make you cry, it's that good. I had an empanada appetizer that I'm still dreaming about.
I'm not going to lie. We didn't have the greatest service we've ever had. Our server was never rude but he was disinterested at best. Casey and her mom ate here last year and they had outstanding service + food. Honestly, the food is so good that unless your server spits in your face, you can't even care. 
Here is that life changing empanada and a jicama salad.
The menu changes daily, but there is always a meat option, tons of seafood options and plenty of vegetarian options. Your server will explain each thing on the menu for you, so don't be afraid to ask questions. Also, don't skip out on dessert! We all shared a coconut cake and Casey got their house made coconut and corn ice creams.
We ate here at El Pez 4 times. Yes you read that right. FOUR times. 3 times for breakfast and 1 time for dinner. El Pez was obviously worthy of eating at multiple times, but we do regret eating breakfast there so many times because there are so many amazing options. However, after we ate there the first time, the location + the setting + the service were so exceptional we made this our go-to breakfast spot. The food is excellent as well (get the omelette of avocado toast) but this place is the total package. A big bonus was they do free refills on coffee :) Most places charge by the cup.
We loved the decor at El Pez so much we wanted to move in!
Also, their tableware was so dreamy. Casey asked where she could buy the pieces and apparently they get asked that a lot. Unfortunately they got them somewhere in Europe (I think that's what they said) so we weren't going to be getting our hands on them while on this trip.
At dinner they also offer a cocktail flight, so you can try 3 different drinks! Great for the indecisive one. (Also they have a cocktail called Dear Mr. Trump. We kept meaning to get a picture of it, but never did.)
Juanita Diavola is located right next to Coco Tulum and is part of the hotel. We ate here for breakfast once and dinner once. Casey had chia seed pudding that was life-altering. As soon as we got home she started making chia pudding. This one was made with mango so it wasn't milky like a lot of chia puddings are. They also make oven fired pizzas that are massive and delicious. It was great to be able to walk 10 seconds out our door to the restaurant.
A good thing to keep in mind- all restaurants in Tulum are open-air, but it's amazing. You can't beat the ambiance that the jungle and ocean naturally create. The night we ate at Juanita Diavola was the only night it rained and we had to take cover at the end of dinner. By the way, that is not a complaint at all, it's just part of the experience!
The Real Coconut is healthy food lovers' dream. The entire restaurant is gluten free which is perfect for Casey since she can't eat gluten. The make their own coconut tortillas and tortilla chips and now you can buy them at Whole Foods!
The whole time while we were in Mexico Casey kept saying she wanted pancakes (gluten-free) and on our last day she got her wish. This was the only place that we found that had them! I had eggs and crispy coconut tortillas, with avocado and tomato sauce, but can't remember what it was called. The tortillas were great if you are looking for an alternative to wheat, rice and corn.
The Real Coconut is located in the Sanara Hotel and it's right on the beach, so the view was exceptional. It was the perfect place to eat just hours before we had to board our plane.
Raw Love Tulum is a cool little vibey place that is in the jungle, but also right on the beach. It's near and/or apart of Ahua Tulum. There are hammocks everywhere and it's a great place to hang and get a juice or a vegan treat. We had some coconut carrot bites that were delicious! Actually, I can't remember exactly what it was we had, but they were sooooo good. Definitely get one of their desserts.
La Zebra was delightful. They have a beach club that we went to one day. They had a pop-up bar from NYC there while we were there, but I think it ended in May. We had a pina colada and we each had a fancy custom drink, both were great. Nothing beats sipping a great cocktail while on a beach bed staring at the ocean. La Zebra also had exceptional service.
Ki-Bok is a coffee shop in town. You can sit in the garden area to order and eat breakfast or you can just order a latte at the counter. The food was good, but the little garden stole the show. It was intimate and cute and full of all our favorite plants. This place was a block away from our Airbnb and is really in the center of everything in town.
Even though there are so many great restaurants on the beach strip, eating in town is way more affordable and you just can't go wrong. You definitely don't want to skip this part. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and if you just want to grab some street tacos, they are cheap and completely delicious. We had some $4 giant mojitos somewhere that were perfect. This is a normal drink price in town.
 And there are a few things you should definitely get in Mexico, wherever you can find them-
1.Guacamole. I think we ate guacamole almost every day. It's so fresh and amazing.
 2. Paletas. We both got coconut and again, these were so fresh. These are definitely not as sweet as in the states, as we found true of most desserts. But that makes them even better!
3. Coco Frio! AKA a cold coconut with a straw. Yummy and cheap.
4. And lastly, elote or street corn- eat it where ever you find it. The corn that we had was so good and the texture of the corn was way different than any corn I've ever eaten. The corn was more dense and chewy. So delicious! I mean I would've eaten this everyday if we were near it. I had chile on mine and it was pretty spicy (and I like spice) and Casey had no spice. Again, I can't stress how different the corn was enough. It's kind of mind boggling, but you have to get some!

If you liked this post and would love to see more like it, please pin the image below!

xo, Savannah

P.S. Well we are 3/4 of the way done with the Guide to Tulum series! Next week we will be talking about what to do while in Tulum.