May 2016 - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Surznick Reads: May 2016

The end of May is here already! A busy schedule means a slow reading month for us. Things are about to get even crazier, so bear with us as we review less books than normal. We have fun stuff on the horizon that we think you'll love even more!

Sarah's Reads!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
From "More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss - a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed. The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago... and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it."

Nick reviewed this book in April, but now it's my turn! We both read this for the book club we've been hosting once a month at our house. If you'll recall, Nick absolutely loved this book and he was so excited for me to read it after him. I really loved this book as well. It was recommended as a book to read if you're a fan of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, but I thought it was way better than both of those books. It was exciting, raw, emotional... I couldn't wait to see where the next chapter would take them. It has twists and turns that you won't expect. It's definitely the perfect easy, summer read if you're into violent, disturbing thrillers that leave you feeling a little uneasy. Either way, I highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 Stars

xo, Sarah

Friday, May 27, 2016

Surz Style (II)

I can't believe we shared the first and only Surz Style post 8 months ago. As soon as we decided to start this new feature, the evenings became darker earlier and we just couldn't make it work with our schedules. But now summer is here and we're bringing it back!

Here's a look at what I wore to work this week. Unfortunately most of the pieces I'm wearing are from prior seasons so I can't link the exact items, but similar items are linked below. If you like this feature, be sure to let us know!

Monday - 6:45 PM

Chambray Shirt \ Old Navy (similar)
Blue Patterned Skirt \ TJ Maxx (similar)
Pink Flats \ Modcloth (similar)
Daniel Wellington-inspired Watch \ Poshmark (similar, actual DW)

Tuesday - 7:00 PM

Gray Casual Shirt \ Old Navy (similar)
Black Jeggings \ Charlotte Russe (exact)
Heart Flarts \ ASOS (exact sold out)
Sunglasses \ Forever 21 (similar)
Daniel Wellington-inspired Watch \ Poshmark (similar, actual DW)

Wednesday - 6:15 PM

Yellow Dress \ Ifchic (exact)
Black Jersey Blazer \ Old Navy (similar)
Skinny Black Belt \ Forever 21 (similar)
Cat Flats \ ASOS (exact sold out)
Daniel Wellington-inspired Watch \ Poshmark (similar, actual DW)

Thursday - 5:30 PM

Sleeveless White Top \ H&M (exact)
Khaki Jeans \ Old Navy (similar)
Huarache Sandals \ Charlotte Russe (exact)
Daniel Wellington-inspired Watch \ Poshmark (similar, actual DW)

xo, Sarah

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our 10 Must See Concerts This Summer

The Avett Brothers
Every year around this time we start to make our "Summer To-Do List" (see 2015 and 2014.) Last year we failed miserably at doing just about anything on the list, so this year we're not making one! We do, however, have big plans for this summer and despite how busy our schedules will be, the one thing we always make time for is concerts.

We love going to concerts and it's not unusual for us to go to several shows a month, especially in the summer. We already have a few concerts lined up for the next couple of months, and a few more that we want to attend. Below are our 10 must sees in Pittsburgh for summer 2016! (In order from soonest to latest!)

Taking Back Sunday
1. Dashboard Confessional / Taking Back Sunday / Saosin / The Early November
6/7/16 - Peterson Events Center (Tickets)
I feel like this lineup needs no introduction. I love turning on Tell All Your Friends when we cook breakfast on Sunday mornings and I still haven't gotten over meeting Chris Carabba last summer. Seeing all these bands together would be so fun. Not to mention, I've seen Anthony Green perform in Circa Survive, The Sound of Animals Fighting, and solo, but never in Saosin. It would be once in a lifetime for me. -S

 2. Houndmouth
6/9/16, Mr. Smalls Theater (Tickets)
Many years ago, my very first solo acoustic performance was at The Smiling Moose opening for a tiny little band called Houndmouth. I brought 11 friends to that show, and they were the only people in the entire crowd. Now, Houndmouth is selling out all over the place, playing late night talk shows, touring the world and all around killing it. I love seeing this band, and I probably always will. -N

3. Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche) / Brandon Reilly (Nightmare of You)
6/14/16, The Smiling Moose (Tickets)
I Am the Avalanche and Nightmare of You were two of my favorite bands in high school. I've seen each them once, but not in many, many years. This solo show would be so fantastic. -S

4. Modern BaseballJoyce Manor
6/22/16, Altar Bar (Tickets)
Modern Baseball is my current obsession. I thought it was just going to be a quick fling, but it doesn't seem to be going away. Their newest album, Holy Ghost, is absolutely incredible. If you can't check them out on tour this summer, you NEED to get your hands on some of their music. -N

 5. Lucius
6/25/16, Schenley Plaza (Free!)
We saw Lucius in Cleveland a couple months ago (read post here) and we are so excited to see them again (for free!) at the WYEP Summer Music Festival. Their new album is seriously fantastic and their live performance is something to behold. -S

6. Dolly Parton
6/28/16, Consol Energy Center (Tickets)
Which one of these is not like the other...? Ah yes, Dolly Parton! I'll be honest, we won tickets to this concert, which is why we're going. But seeing Dolly Parton at least once in your life just seems like something you should do, right? -S

7. Weezer / Panic at the Disco
7/3/16, Stage AE (Sold Out)
Mostly interested in seeing Weezer because we never have before! This show is the 105.9 XFest so it's an outdoor, afternoon affair that would be so much fun! Too bad it's already sold out. -S

8. Brand New / Modest Mouse
7/5/16, Stage AE (Sold Out)
When Brand New goes on tour, you go no matter what (or at least that's our policy.) We still listen to Brand New regularly and are so damn excited for this show. -S

 9. Merriment / The Hush Sound
8/7/16, Club AE (Tickets)
We saw Merriment on my birthday a couple years ago (read post here) and would love to see them again. I still maintain that Sway, their debut album, is one of the prettiest records I've ever heard. You can't go wrong with the DuPree family. -S

10. Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally
8/21/16, Benedum Center (Tickets)
If I needed to pick a more perfectly hilarious celebrity couple, I'd be hard pressed to find anyone above Offerman and Mullally. Spawned out of our mutual love for Parks and Rec and a healthy background of Will & Grace, these two are some of my favorite comedians. -N

Are you attending any summer concerts? Share with us below!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, May 23, 2016

Perfectly Pineappled

Summer hasn't even started yet, but I've already whipped out my pineapple shorts once and have been finding more and more pineapple items that I need in my life. At the top of my list are some cute little earrings and an awesome pineapple doorknocker. Did you know that pineapples symbolize welcome, friendship, and hospitality?

I've rounded up some awesome pineapple items below. From clothes to home decor, pineapples are everywhere! Do you love this trend as much as I do?

1. Shot Glasses  /  2. Sandals

3. Skull Shirt  /  4. Door Knocker  /  5. iPhone Case

6. Doormat  /  7. Earrings  /  8. Tumbler

9. Glassware  /  10. Cardigan

11. Sneakers  /  12. Party Lights  /  13. Art Print

Sarah & Nick

p.s. this doorknocker!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pittsburgh Blogger Posts We Love (II)

Photo by Jessica Merchant via
Back in March we shared a roundup of posts we love from other Pittsburgh bloggers. When we started TSCR two and half years ago, we had no idea that Pittsburgh was home to so many bloggers. It's been awesome getting to meet so many wonderful people through our blog and we love sharing what others around the 'Burgh are up to as well.

Here are some favorite posts we loved from other Pittsburgh bloggers this week!

1. How Sweet It Is - Honey Chipotle Chicken Pizza with Goat Cheese
Though we don't eat meat, this pizza looks seriously divine. I also love Jessica's anecdote about calling pizza "'za" because someone (Nick) is also guilty of this.

2. That's What Sarah Said - Wedding Weekend Highlights
We're maybe a bit biased because we attended this incredible wedding, but it was just so much fun. Check out Sarah's highlights from the weekend and see photos with #theblumers on Instagram!

3. Coffee and a Blonde - The Simple White Tee
I had the pleasure of meeting Victoria at the last Style Social event and I love her style! The entire look featured in this post is so great, I wish it was mine!

4. Zoe with Love - Gray and Pink Living Room
Zoe's home is so incredibly beautiful and I'm loving this refresh on her living room!

5. This Blissful Moment & Bluebells and Lipstick - Bluebells & Talbots
Nicky and Megan joined forces for this collaboration post with Talbots and their outfits are so cute! Loving the bright blues and spring vibes.

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Swimsuits

Summer is right around the corner and cute swimsuits are everywhere you look. While I love to refresh my closet a bit as each new season comes, swimsuits are something I rarely use, so I don't like to purchase a new one each season.

I hadn't bought a new suit in a couple years, so this year I decided I would find one or two new ones I like, just in case we take a spontaneous beach vacation or something this summer. I'm seriously loving the high-waisted and peplum trend I'm seeing a lot. It provides a little more coverage and makes me feel more comfortable than I would in a traditional bikini.

Below are some favorites that I'm loving for this season. Amazon surprisingly has a pretty decent selection (both suits I purchased were from there!) The pieces I bought have an asterisks (*) next to them. Which one do you like best?

one* / two / three

xo, Sarah

Monday, May 16, 2016

Grapefruit Ginger Smoothie

Every morning before work, Sarah and I drink a smoothie for breakfast. I really love our strawberry-banana-spinach-peanut butter recipe, but it's time to branch out and expand our taste horizons! 

This grapefruit and ginger smoothie recipe was taken from our Clean Slate cookbook, and I'm loving the sharp taste of the ginger with the sweet and sour of the fruits. 

Here's what you need:
- 2 cups strawberries (we used frozen, you can use fresh or frozen)
- 1 sweet apple, cored and sliced
- 1 inch peeled and chopped ginger
- 1 grapefruit peeled with seeds removed
- 1 cup water

Here's what you do:
- Put everything into a blender and blend it. (duh)

Some quick notes: One does not simply peel a grapefruit. Trust me, I learned the hard way. Cut it in half, and scoop it out into the blender. Also, ginger is incredibly fibrous and strong. Even though this recipe calls for a blender, I would also consider using a juicer. I love the flavors of this drink, but I wasn't wild about the textures left over in my smoothie. I'm picky about texture, and although it was mostly smooth, there were still some "chunks" I wasn't happy with.

Go crazy and try it yourself! You'll love it.

Sarah & Nick

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bathroom Inspiration

Though we have pretty clear ideas of what we want our future kitchen to look like, I think our vision for the bathroom is a little foggy. The bathroom is a space that I've never really put much design thought into, but as we start to think about what a future home will look like, I'm trying to focus on creating a beautiful and cohesive home, including those lesser thought about spaces.

Bathrooms of the Pinterest world are usually big and beautiful, but from my experience in our own apartment and friend's homes, Pittsburgh bathrooms are pretty small (we also aren't buying a million dollar house.) We probably won't have much space to work with, but I don't want that to stop me from creating a light and aesthetically pleasing room.

Below are some inspiration images of bathrooms we love. You'll notice that they're still different and special in their own ways. We're still trying to nail down what we'll want our future bathroom to look like and we'll probably end up taking bits and pieces from a few of these. Which is your favorite?

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vegan Caprese Sandwich

There is nothing quite like the almighty grilled cheese sandwich. Sarah and I were recently at a restaurant here in Pittsburgh that specializes in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and we fell in love. We knew we could achieve one of our favorites in a delicious, vegan form, and we succeeded! Behold, the Vegan Caprese Sandwich!

This recipe is really all about making this vegan mozzarella (from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken). We first made it for our Dairy-Free Cheese Pizza, and we couldn't wait to employ it in another recipe. This sandwich was the perfect opportunity, and it did not disappoint!

Here's what you need:

For the cheese:
- 1/4 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

For the sandwich:
- Italian bread
- Tomato
- Fresh basil
- Vegan mozzarella
- Balsamic vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:
- Balsamic vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt
- Black pepper

Here's what you do:

1. Make the cheese:
- Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until liquid.
- Heat in a small saucepan on low heat, stirring constantly.
- The mixture will start to form clumps. Continue stirring until thick and stretchy.

2. Make the vinaigrette:
- Combine equal parts red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
- Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Whisk to combine.

3. Assemble the sandwich:
- Cut 2 thick slices of your bread.
- On one slice, brush with the vinaigrette, on the other, add a thick layer of the vegan cheese.
- Top with tomato slices and fresh basil leaves.
- Grill in a hot, buttered skillet to your liking.

Sarah & Nick

Monday, May 9, 2016

White Eyelet Dress

White Eyelet Shirtdress 1
White Eyelet Shirtdress 2

This bright, white number is the epitome of everything I want in a summer dress. Beautiful eyelet detail, crisp collar, a-line fit, lined (so it's not see-through), button-up shirt dress... it has it all. I've been anxiously awaiting warm enough weather to throw this on and was so excited when we finally had gorgeous sunny skies this past weekend.

White Eyelet Shirtdress 3
White Eyelet Shirtdress 4
White Eyelet Shirtdress 5

Paired with cute pale pink flats, a side braid, and a bright red lip, I feel like a 50's girl ready to go grab a shake with my guy. I added a skinny brown belt and matching woven purse for a bit of texture. I plan on wearing this dress all summer with sandals or wedges, and probably my go-to top knot.

White Eyelet Shirtdress 6
White Eyelet Shirtdress 7
White Eyelet Shirtdress 8

White Eyelet Dress\Forever 21 (exact sold out, similar - more linked below!)
Pink Flats\Modcloth (similar)
Woven Purse\Picked up at a clothing swap

Unfortunately I purchased this dress on final sale, so it's no longer available. Below I've linked some other summer shirt dresses I'm loving. Are you a shirt dress kinda girl for summer?

xo, Sarah