life lately 5/1/15

by Nicole on May 1, 2015

Our rose bush is going crazy lately! I’ve been cutting them to put around the house because they’re so pretty and they smell so amazing. But Darius hates the smell because he thinks they smell like JALAPENOS. What?!?

So glad it’s Friday! We have a fun weekend planned, and it will be extra-awesome because it’s Darius’s 29th birthday! Tonight we’re taking the metro-rail to the east side to have snacks & drinks on the patio at Gardner. Tomorrow we’ll do our usual thing–get produce from our favorite farms, meal plan, and cook, and then dinner at Apothecary or Kome or whatever we feel like in the moment.  Sunday will be for relaxing and hopefully doing something outdoors like hiking or swimming or both, and I’m pretty certain there will be more good food. SUMMER!

What are you guys up to this weekend?

eating

I am kind of obsessed with cookies right now. Desserts are always a thing I go through in phases–a pudding phase, an ice cream phase, a cupcake phase, and lately it’s a cookie phase. Two recipes are currently at the top of my list. The first is these easy peanut butter cookies from Oh, Ladycakes. They’re healthyish, take literally 60 seconds to make and only 5 minutes to bake, and the recipe makes just 12 bite-size cookies, perfect for enjoying on the couch on a Friday night while watching a movie with someone you love. The second, and really, my favorite of the two, is these salted chocolate chunk cookies from Smitten Kitchen. Seriously, that recipe has just replaced all other chocolate chip cookie recipes for me. It’s perfection.

listening

I’m totally one of those people who plays new favorite songs until I can’t stand them anymore. (I still can’t listen to Lana Del Rey yet.) My new favorites are these two songs from BØRNS, which just feel so summer-y and nice.

If you like food and podcasts, you should definitely check out Radio Cherry Bombe. I’m still working my way through past episodes, but I especially loved this one with Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy.

And it’s a few weeks old, but the first act of the “Need to Know Basis” episode of This American Life is so very much the way I was raised, and I have the same tendency for being overly honest. “Oh, you like chocolate? I don’t like it.” Until hearing this podcast, it really never dawned on me how alienating this trait can be for other people! Sorry, anyone I’ve ever annoyed or offended!

watching

It’s been a few years since we watched Sound of Noise, but we re-watched it last night and it is still SO good. Fun, funny, sweet, and incredible music. Available for rental on Amazon and Google.

Went to an epic beer dinner last weekend to see Life Aquatic, along with four courses of food and eight beers from Dogfish Head. Black & Blue is definitely a new favorite! Afterwards we caught a 10:30 showing of The Host and I straight-up fell asleep. I’m old!

sewing

I’m working on a wearable muslin of the True Bias Southport dress using some voile I got in a swap a while ago. I’m finished with the bodice, but will need to adjust the armhole on future versions because there is major bra-showing going on. This version is just going to be a swimsuit cover-up, though, so it doesn’t really matter.

Oh, and I’m not planning on formally participating in Me-Made-May because although I wear me-mades almost everyday, they’re really quite boring and repetitive–usually Ginger Jeans and a plain t-shirt (I have several organic cotton ones from Whole Foods I really like), or a me-made dress. So instead I’ll be focusing on making like I did last year, and will commit to at least 10 minutes of sewing per day. It’s nothing huge, but at least it will keep me in my sewing room and I’ll hopefully have a few things to show at the end of the month. Definitely need to work on tops!

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.

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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.

listening

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.

eating

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?

sewing

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).

watching

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.