food rituals: sewing blogger lauren taylor

by Nicole on April 20, 2015

Welcome to another installment of food rituals! Today I’m featuring Lauren Taylor, sewing blogger at Lladybird. Lauren’s blog was one of the first sewing blogs I followed, and I was instantly hooked because of how hilarious she is. She’s also CRAZY productive. I’m wondering if her food habits will give us all sewing superpowers like her…

First off, tell me a little bit about you–where do you live, who do you live with, what do you do, what’s your life like?

I live in Nashville, TN (born and raised!), with my boyfriend Landon and our tortie cat, Amelia. I work two part time jobs – one, I work weekday mornings as a personal assistant to a female entrepreneur (working from home if my boss is traveling, which is pretty frequent), the other is a 3 day/3 hour a week gig working sewing production for Elizabeth Suzann. I also occasionally teach sewing, either at the local college here or at my favorite fabric store. My life is very flexible and can be quite different each week, but I’m generally home from work by 4:30 at the very latest, unless I’m teaching a class. I never work on weekends because, eff that.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

Well, I ALWAYS eat breakfast. I’m the sort of person who starts getting ill and cranky if I hadn’t had food within a couple of hours upon waking up. My typical breakfast changes with the weather. Right now for winter, that means stovetop oatmeal (with brown sugar, vanilla, chopped apples and chia seeds). In the summer, I drink a lot of smoothies for breakfast- usually just whatever fruit I can shove in my blender (my favorite mix is pineapple, mango, banana, cutie oranges, fresh ginger, and orange juice). Landon and I always cook breakfast on the weekends – either eggs and bacon, or french toast, or pancakes.

Around 10AM, I’ll have a Greek yogurt snack – right now I really like those Wallby ones from Whole Foods, because you don’t put the fruit in until you’re ready to eat it (I HATE yogurt with fruit on the bottom. Blech!). Because of my schedule, I may or may not skip lunch – my boss always encourages me to eat some of whatever I’m making for her, but she does eat a lot of salads with shrimp on them, and I hate shrimp, so I’ll usually just eat an apple with some almond butter. If I’m home, lunch is either a sandwich or leftovers from the night before.

When I get home in the afternoon, I’ll have a sandwich to tide me over if I’m starving (either turkey/salami/cheese or natural peanut butter with bananas and local honey). Once Landon gets home, we almost always make dinner (or eat leftovers). Our dinners are very much the same thing almost every week. We eat a lot of Southern comfort food – meatloaf, homemade chicken noodle soup (or chicken and dumplings), chicken pot pie, roasted chicken and veggies, tomato basil soup, oven-baked fajitas, homemade pasta sauce, beef stew, spicy tortilla soup, etc. We eat more sandwiches and pasta salads in the summer, and soups in the winter – especially if I can cook it in my crock pot! I’ll usually eat a snack somewhere between dinner and bed – and lately, that snack is cookies from the cookie bar at Whole Foods. Did you know Whole Foods has a cookie bar? It’s dangerous, man.

How often do you dine out, and what do you eat?

We actually don’t dine out much at all! I’m picky with how I spend my money on food – I’d rather go out once a month and have something AMAZING, than something mediocre a couple of times a week. That being said, we don’t go to amazing places too often. We’re not really foodie people. Maybe once a week, max, but it’s usually closer to once every two weeks. If we’re eating fast food (which, let’s be real – I try to eat healthy, but this happens way more often than it should), it’s usually Chipotle, Qdoba, or Panera. Or we’ll pick up a pepperoni pizza and stay in to watch movies. Oh, and while this doesn’t count as dining out-out, I do eat dinner with my BFF once a week – usually Mondays. She’ll cook us something delicious- our go-to is usually some sort of baked fish with rice and veggies, because we like to pretend to be healthy until it’s time for dessert.

What are your favorite foods–those ingredients you always cook with, or the things that you see on a menu that you always end up ordering?

Welllll, we eat a LOT of chicken! Haha! Which is why, when I eat out – I almost always get steak or beef, just because it’s different. I like anything that’s been cooked with ginger, pineapple, or lemon (probably not all at the same time, though!). Oh, and I love anything with apples on it. Apples are a major staple of my diet these days, haha.

What do you eat when you’re alone?

Whenever Landon goes out of town on a business trip, I go to Trader Joe’s and stock up on frozen meals as my treat to myself. There’s a tortellini in olive oil sauce one that I really like, a shepherd’s pie, and a really good French onion soup. And, of course, always more cookies from the cookie bar. I ♥ the cookie bar.

How do you take your coffee/tea?

Coffee with just cream. Black tea with cream and sugar, or green tea with honey.

Condiment of choice?

Homemade pesto or spicy/chipotle mayo.

Are there any foods you dislike?

I won’t eat shrimp, lobster – or any shell fish for that matter. Gross! Other than that, I’m pretty open to whatever.

Do you have any weird food quirks?

I don’t think this is weird, but a lot of my friends are really horrified over my love of hot chicken. It’s a Nashville specialty – it’s not spicy, it’s just cayenne-soaked, neon red HOT. If you’re not sobbing while you eat it, it’s not hot enough. In that same vein, I like putting honey on my hot chicken, which people also think is weird. It cuts the heat a little without killing the flavor like, say, ranch dressing does.

Favorite cocktail/beer/wine?

I like wheat beers and hefeweizens. Other beers are ok as long as they’re not too dark/hoppy, otherwise I’m too much of a weenie to drink it.

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami?

Salty! Always salty!

Note: All photos in this post belong to Lauren Taylor.

Previous installments of “food rituals”:

nicole morgan
luisa weiss
hannah peterson
crystal esquivel
novita estiti

life lately 4/15/15

by Nicole on April 15, 2015

My body hates me right now. I was out sick for three days last week with some kind of random fever/fatigue, and now I seem to have gotten food poisoning! What’s sad is that the meal in question was so good–trout with charred lemon, jerusalem artichokes, and kale from a local place that specializes in healthy take-out. At least I’ve reached the “saltines & sips of water” phase, so hopefully my body will be back in tip-top shape soon. Also, saltines. They are so good, right?!? I never have them except when I’m sick and I always forget how salty-good they are.

So while I’m laid up on the couch, thought I’d give a brief “life lately” update.


Radiolab is my favorite podcast of all time. This week, they played a story called “The Living Room” from another podcast, Love & Radio, and not only is it fantastic storytelling, but it’s a story I think will remain etched in my brain until I die. Warning–you probably don’t want to listen at work or anyplace you’d be embarrassed if you burst into tears, because chances are you are going to burst into tears. I am not at all a crier, but I was straight-up sobbing in traffic listening to it.


Rice porridge and spring vegetables. Darius actually made and plated this one!

I’ve been on a cookbook-preordering spree lately because there are just so many good ones coming out. Recent acquisitions include Milk Bar Life, Sprouted Kitchen Bowl & Spoon, and My New Roots, and Nigel Slater’s eat. So far, my surprise favorite of the bunch is My New Roots! I say “surprise” because while I’ve always enjoyed her blog, I didn’t find myself cooking from it often, but the cookbook is SO approachable, and I want to cook absolutely everything. Have already made several things actually–Carrot Rhubarb Muffins, Strawberry Chia Jam, Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats, Dandelion Greens with Ghee-Poached Radishes & Smoked Salt, and Black Lentil Salad with Tzatziki, Avocado, & Pea Shoots. And that was all in the first week!

I’ve also preordered Seven Spoons, A Modern Way to Eat, The New Sugar and Spice, and Near & Far. We are in such a good time period for cookbooks! I am continually blown away at how many have stellar photography, moving writing, and creative & tasty recipes, all in one package.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?


Meg, Heather, and I decided to participate in Lola’s “sisterhood of traveling fabric” and I can’t wait to make something with what they each sent me!

Meg sent me three meters of this lovely floaty chambray she recently made as a shirt for her husband. It is so breezy! I am still toying around with ideas on this one. I think it would look great as an Alder, but the stripe-matching for a dress like that scares me a little. Or maybe an Anna? Or Heather Lou suggested a tunic/shift dress, and I really like that idea too since I’ve been liking that style more. A simple breezy Laurel? A Saiph (maybe with the stripes running the opposite direction for the skirt)?

Heather sent me the leftovers of her gorgeous Carolyn pajamas, and also some really quality gray cotton spandex. I want to make some kind of breezy summer top or tank with the floral (Datura perhaps?), and then a Nettie with the gray (might even be able to squeeze out two).


We saw The One I Love recently and really enjoyed it (available on Netflix Instant). And Coherence, one of our favorites from Fantastic Fest a few years back is available on Amazon Prime. I think they would make for an interesting double-feature.

more “comfort sewing”: another knit dress

by Nicole on April 8, 2015


When I finished this dress and tried it on for the first time, I was a bit meh. It somehow seemed a little too prim & proper, and yeah, plain. No whimsy, no “casual-cool”, just kind of blankly pretty. Not what I usually go for. But my husband really loved it, and the fabric is lovely and soft and has a great drape, and after wearing it around for a day (and seeing photos), it’s grown on me. I don’t think it will ever be one of my favorite dresses, but I’m sure it will be one I reach for often because it really is very easy to wear.

The bodice is a Moneta. I initially liked the fit of my first Moneta, but soon realized I wanted more negative ease because there was just way too much excess fabric for my taste around the shoulders and arms and bust and waist. So yeah, pretty much everywhere, ha. I made this one in a size L, which is much smaller than my measurements (for example, my waist is 34″, but the L in this is 29″), but I like the fit much, much better. I also lengthened the waist by 1″ to account for the fact that I didn’t do an FBA and was using up quite a bit of negative ease on boobs. Oh, and I did a 1/2″ forward shoulder adjustment, although maybe I could have done a little less.


I also really do not care for the Moneta’s gathered skirt, so I swapped it out for a 3/4 circle skirt that I “drafted” using Devon’s tutorial. At least this time I was being slightly original by trying out a 3/4 skirt instead of my usual full circle? To account for the additional stretch that occurs with a knit circle skirt, I drafted a 28″ waist and it ended up fitting into the bodice pretty perfectly. I stabilized with clear elastic.


So yeah, that’s about it for this dress. Probably won’t make another one for a while, but at least I’ll have this dress that feels very put-together to wear all summer. It’s first real test will probably be this weekend, in which I attempt to eat my weight’s worth in crawfish at my husband’s family’s annual crawfish boil. It just occurred to me that a crawfish boil might be a very curious thing to a lot of you, so maybe I’ll take some photos this weekend.

Ahahahah, check out this sweet wind action: