Fall Sprucing

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For the past few weekends, we’ve been doing some Fall Sprucing. It’s like spring cleaning, except you do it just before fall. I have always thought that fall feels more like a fresh start than spring. This is probably due to the school calendar. The end of the summer turns into the start of the school year, which has always meant new school supplies, new clothes, a fresh haircut, and a fresh start. Even after graduating college, I still feel that the fall is a beginning . . and not just the beginning of the end.

During this time of year, I like to clean up around the house, try out a new hair color, buy school office supplies, shop for new clothing, and rejuvenate any resolutions I made in January that have slipped my mind during the summer months. The fall sprucing this year started with a trip to Bombshell Salon  for a daring new hair color. I expected to get my usual dark chocolate brown, but my hair stylist talked me into a panel of bright red in the front.

sprucehair

After the hair salon kickoff, I decided to tackle a house project that Kyle and I have meant to take care of for a few weeks. We finally painted our front door a fun color! We have a white house with a white front door, so we have desperately needed a pop of color. After living with several paint chips taped to our front door for a week (sorry, neighbors. . .), we decided on Valspar Green Gecko (6006-8A).

sprucedoor1

After the door was painted, we were surprised to find that Kyle had chosen the exact same shade for our door as he had for his iPhone 5c. It’s almost a perfect match! We also installed some modern house numbers, which was a fun adventure to say the least. I think we tried five different drill bits before we found the right size to fit the anchors and posts for these numbers, but finally it is done, and we love it.

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I carried the momentum into Labor Day weekend, when I decided to go after a big house project that I had put off for years. I finally went through every piece of clothing in my closet and dresser and decided what to keep, sell, or donate. Yes, every piece. Including the sock drawer and my stack of denim. I can never bear to part with a pair of jeans, no matter how ratty or ill-fitting. So many memories! I found pairs of flare cut jeans from college, maybe even high school. Did you ever have a pair of these supremely cool Lucky brand jeans?

sprucejeans

For someone who now wears heels once every three months, I have a pretty sizable collection of heels. Pictured here, about a quarter of what I found. That’s right, I had about 50 pairs of heels. If I wore heels one day a week, I could go a year without repeating a pair. And I don’t wear heels anymore.

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But I still kept about 15 pairs! Someday, I might want to wear heels again, and I wouldn’t want to start from scratch. So I may still have a little ways to go before I have a simplified closet, but I did end up with four garbage bags full of perfectly good clothing to donate, just because it’s not my style, I don’t love it, or it doesn’t fit my body exactly how I want it to. If you’re interested in taking the same (very helpful) approach that I did, I highly recommend that you check out How to Organize a Closet You’ll Love.

The final item on the list I have been working for our fall sprucing project is cleaning up our diets. We are so far from perfect on this, but I have been incorporating a lot more home cooked clean eating meals into our weekly meal plan. My favorite cookbook lately has been Clean Food by Terry Walters. Kyle and I have noticed that we feel so much better when we are eating a healthy vegetarian diet with a variety of nutrient sources. It is a lot easier to do this in the summer with an abundance of local fruits and vegetables, so we really have no excuse this month; we’re eating as clean as we can.

If you’re thinking about sprucing up your diet too, check out my new Pinterest board, Healthy Vegetarian Recipes!

clean food pins

 

Have a wonderful week, and good luck with your new beginnings as well!

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Fashion for Food Lovers

Have you tried being real life friends with a personal style blogger? It’s great for so many reasons, including constant fashion inspiration and free wardrobe advice around the clock. It’s like having a personal shopper – for free! But it’s also kind of difficult, like when you realize that you’re most likely not going to be the best dressed at any mutual gatherings. But hey, this whole experience has been great motivation to get me out of my yoga pants and into real clothes on the weekends. Of course I am talking about my good friend Carissa, who started her personal style blog, bits&bows, last year.

Little known fact: Carissa also enjoys participating in wine-inspired performance art.

I follow a lot of different kinds of blogs, not just food-related ones. We can draw inspiration from many different places and learn things from different writers. I love some of the super fashiony writers and photographers out there who push the boundaries with their wardrobes, much like I admire the home cooks and chefs of the world who blaze trails in the kitchen. However, I’ve never been a 6-inch stiletto girl and I never spend too much time or money on fleeting fashion trends. My personal style is far more simple, classic and practical. Function over form, I suppose. Regardless of how uninteresting my wardrobe may be, I thought it would be fun to put together a post on practical dressing for food lovers. I often find that in my wardrobe, everything has a place and a purpose. Welcome to the mise en place of my closet.

#1 – Day Job to Dinner


  • Dress: Work appropriate plus the empire waist allows extra room for a big dinner.
  • Shoes: Sandals for walking to and from the office, which are replaced by the pumps I keep under my desk as soon as I get to work. No need to stuff my feet into killer heels all day when my night job involves standing over a hot stove.
  • Belt: Accentuates the smallest part of the waist so I don’t have to get all defensive explaining why I  am going back for seconds of my Bombolini pasta.
  • Garden: Basil and rosemary taste better when you’ve grown them yourself.

#2 – Farmers’ Market with Friends


  • Tunic: Bright colors are key if you want your friends to be able to find you in a crowded market. If you don’t believe me, try telling your friends “I’ll be the one in a sundress, examining the Hanover heirloom tomatoes” and see how many hours it takes them to pick you out in the crowd.
  • Flip flops: The SOJ market is no place for heels if you plan on getting the best produce they have to offer. This place is crowded. It is 100 degrees outside. This is war, people! Sandals or running shoes are the only options.
  • Leggings: Remember the time I mooned the market? Leggings are a must. End of story.
  • Reusable bag: Really you’re going to need two or three of these if you’re doing any real shopping. A nice sturdy waterproof bag is ideal. I got this one at Ikea.

#3 – Biking to Brunch


  • Bike: Well, duh. The bike is because friends don’t let friends drink bloody marys and drive home. Also, for the environment. And for working off that veggie eggs benedict.
  • Helmet: People, please wear a helmet. A lot of young kids like me forget this accessory and it’s just stupid. The brains are my money maker. I’m protecting that shit. Cover your cabezas, okay?
  • Shorts: Biking in dresses is fun. Especially for passersby when a big gust of wind comes by. I don’t take chances and always wear shorts. See: #2 – leggings.
  • Belt and jewelry: When you’re basically wearing athletic wear and participating in a see-and-be-seen event like brunch in the Fan, spruce things up a bit with accessories to look like you tried.

I hope this practical guide to fashion for food lovers has been helpful. Now don’t go thinking every outfit I wear is this well-planned. My friends will tell you that’s a big fat lie. Let’s be honest here. Most of the time, the fashion here at the tiny RVA kitchen of veg:ology looks a lot more like this.

Bon appetit!

Bike to Brunch

Sunday was beautiful. Not only did the Packers prevent the Steelers from winning th Superbowl (boooo Steelers!), but the weather was gorgeous and I got to spend some time with great friends. I was invited to brunch at Bellytimber Tavern this weekend, a spot that was expertly chosen specifically for its bloody mary bar. That’s right, you get to make your own bloody mary. How could this turn out to be anything short of wonderful?

According to the NBC12 weather site, it was roughly 48 degrees when I was heading to brunch. I swear it was warmer than that, because when I stepped outside with my coffee late on Sunday morning, it seemed like the perfect day for a bike ride to brunch. The sun was shining, and while there was a little chill in the air, I felt like the groundhog had gotten it right this year and Spring was right around the corner. However skeptical, I guess I have to trust NBC 12 on this one. They usually tell it like it is. Regardless of the actual outside temperature, 48 degrees felt like 65 degrees to me on Sunday and I was pumped to hop on my bike.

Yes, I store it on the balcony

I felt like throwing on my cropped cycling pants and a hoodie but I also kind of wanted to kick it up a notch. Among the brunch guests was my fabulously talented friend Carissa, who just started up her fashion blog again. If you’re like me and your Google Reader is full of blogs about food, fitness, and fashion, check her out. What I love about Carissa’s approach to fashion it this: while she puts thought into every piece she puts on, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. This shows in Carissa’s writing, which is playful, approachable, and fun. As you would expect from a talented graphic designer like her, Carissa has an eye for the details, which always makes for an interesting read.

I feel a tribute post coming on. . . . ! Carissa inspired me to think twice about what to wear before I headed out the door so here is a post about what I wore, head to toe, in honor of Carissa’s fresh start. Keep scrolling past What I Wore to see What I Ate.

I wanted to wear cycling pants but figured that leggings would fit the bill perfectly. I topped the leggings with a lightweight cotton shirt dress with a belt around my upper waist. I chose a blue dress to match my bike. Then I added a scarf for a pop of color and to keep me warm.

Do I look like I have any idea what I'm doing?

My leisurely biking shoes of choice were these flats from Target. Do you love the detail on the leggings that I picked up on a recent trip to Uniqlo in NYC/SoHo?

This was my biking bag of choice, a Vera Bradley number from a few years ago, that perfectly slings across my chest and stays put like a backpack for fuss-free cargo.

I braided my hair, which is a great biking fashion trick that I learned from Kath.

And to top it all off, a Columbia lightweight jacket and my helmet, as always.

Safety First!

Make fun all you want, but while attending a university with a large population of commuter cyclists, I have seen way too many bikers get hit by cars. I am protecting my noggin, just in case.

I hope Carissa approves of my sartorial choices. My fashion tends to be more practical than whimsical but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

And now for the main event. . . brunch!

I ordered the Messy Jane, which is a TVP sandwich topped with cole slaw and served on a homemade vegan bun. It is Bellytimber’s meatless version of the classic sloppy joe sandwich, and it is oh so delicious.

It definitely warmed me up after my brisk bike ride. And to wash down a lovely Sunday afternoon? Easy, breezy, beautiful.

Bloody Mary.

Cheers and good luck to Carissa for getting back on the horse. And yippee for me for hopping back on the bike. It will be Spring before you know it!