Lauren Winter A/W 14

Lauren’s new fall collection is good enough to come out of a blogging lazy streak for. After she told me about her new pieces and how she was bringing them with her on her Portland vacation to shoot them, I couldn’t wait for the look book to come out. And I love it. The Japanese-inspired shapes and all of the black and white work so well together.

I love the weird shapes of the pants and that kimono jacket, but my favorite piece is definitely the sash-tied Joni dress. I’ve already got my sister order in for that one.

Clothes: Lauren Winter . . . Photos: Jon Duenas . . . Model: Mali Ferry . . . Stylist: Lauren Winter.

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Weekend in Asheville

Nashville has been really hot lately and we were going stir-crazy, so last week we planned a spur of the moment trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We love the town more each time we visit, and I don’t think it’s really because Asheville has changed all that much in the last 4 years but that we have. We’re a lot more into vegetarian/vegan restaurants and hippie grocery stores and especially into outdoorsy things like hiking. We’re obsessed. In Nashville we’ve been hiking at Percy Warner every weekend, and each time we go we talk about how really excited we are to try out the trails in the mountains.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin outside of town that a friend had told us about. A cabin built in the early 1800s, pushed back into the woods and surrounded by a farm, where roosters crow in the mornings and weird goats lie around in fields. We wanted a lazy weekend and definitely got it. We made some of our meals (soup for dinner and french toast for breakfast) and ate them on the screened-in porch. On Sunday we slept in and then took the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell to go hiking. In Asheville it had been hot and sunny, but on top of the mountain it was cloudy and misty the whole time and so cool that it felt like fall. The trail we took (the Old Mitchell) was also a lot, lot harder than the trails we usually hike. Especially in the rain. All the rocks and rocky ledges (which there were a lot of, and some were so steep that you had to use ropes to get down them) were slick, and ever since I broke my arm a few years ago I’ve been really paranoid about falling, but we made it to the top. Of course there were clouds and we couldn’t see a thing from the observation tower. But the trails themselves were beautiful, and in one spot we saw where a camp/resort had been in the early 1900s, right by some little waterfalls.

That night we ate at the Laughing Seed Cafe, which is one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, maybe mostly for their vegan chocolate beet cake. It’s worth the trip into town. We were sad to leave the cabin and head back to Nashville the next day. I can’t remember the last time we wanted a trip to go on and on, but this one was it.

PS—I haven’t done an outfit post in forever, but I really wanted to get some photos with this dress. Drew’s cousin Brooke (my cousin-in-law) got it in Mali years ago when she was in the Peace Corps, and she recently gave it to me. It’s different from the dresses I usually wear, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites: I’ve been wearing it all the time this summer. Thanks again, Brooke!

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Things I Like

I like these photos that Harry Were shot for Penny Sage’s new collection Sleepaway. They were shot in New Zealand, but they make me think of little cabins on the Big Sur coastline, and they make me want to escape this crazy Nashville heat and go back.

l’ve been really into cooking lately. Each Sunday night I go through vegan/vegan-ish food blogs and books and plan out the menu for the week, and sometimes I think that the planning of it is more fun than the cooking. But maybe not the eating. My favorite meals are probably salads, but really hearty ones, with lots of rice, tempeh, kale, cauliflower, coconut milk, turmeric, etc. . . .

Some of my favorite food blogs at the moment: The First Mess (where this photo is from). . . What’s Cooking Good Looking . . . Love & Lemons . . . Cookie and Kate . . . and Holy Cow! Vegan (because all of a sudden I’m obsessed with Indian food). Also, pretty much everything I’ve made from the book Salad Samurai has gone straight to my favorites list.

It’s about a hundred degrees outside, but it’s not too soon to be thinking about fall collections, and Milena Silvano’s is one of my favorites, again. It’s weird-good.

I’m also excited about the brand new magazine Golly. Most magazines coming out now are so damn serious, but Golly seems like it will be full of life and youth and inspiration (as opposed to aspiration) and—best of all—fun. I like it already. So far Golly has one issue out, but you can help them make more via Kickstarter. 

Oh, and you know what else makes me want to go back to California? This summer lookbook from Mayflower Supply Co. The idea of hanging out in Palm Springs wearing vintage dresses sounds pretty good right now. I’d even put up with the heat.

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July Garden

Looking back at these photos reminds me that July was a good month in our garden, even though it doesn’t seem that way at the moment. Today we had to pull out two very dead, diseased cucumber plants, and I’m kind of down in the dumps about it, but I know I shouldn’t be. We’ve harvested quite a bit over the last month. Our summer squash plants may not have anything on them at the moment, but when they produce they give us more yellow squashes than we can handle, our cherry tomatoes are finally ripening up, and those cucumber plants (RIP) did give us a pickling cucumber a day for the last three weeks or so.

Somehow our kale plants are still fine, though the caterpillars are too. When it got really hot here this month I got lazy about picking off caterpillars, so some of the plants are pretty much destroyed. But the ones at the front of the garden are still good, and we’re still eating kale salads every week. Our zucchini plants are slowly coming along; we got one zucchini a few weeks ago before the plant decided to rest and take its time. And we have peppers! My sister Ashley gave us some plants, and even though the bed we put them in is on the shady side, they’re doing great. Two jalopenos last week, and a slowly growing green pepper this one.

Our herb garden out front has been taken over by the wildflowers I planted there, but the bees love it, so I don’t mind. And we still have herbs. Our cilantro and dill plants have gone to seed, but we still have basil and rosemary and way too much mint. I’ve been collecting seeds from the dried-out sunflowers along our fence. They’re about dead, but there are plenty of wildflowers left, and the nasturtiums I planted months ago have finally bloomed. Well, one did. And it’s beautiful.

I’ll try to think about that instead of the bugs. But, really, we’re overwhelmed by them. When we started gardening I knew I’d have to deal with the occasional pest, but I had no idea there would be so many or how destructive they could be. I’ve been picking off caterpillars and drowning them in dish soap and water, squishing cucumber beetles between my fingers, and throwing squash bugs on the ground and stepping on them with my boot, but every time I go outside there are more and I get frustrated. The cucumber beetle is the worst, by far. So far the squash bug hasn’t killed the plant—it’s still producing and doing fine—and the caterpillars are manageable as long as I’m not lazy, but the cucumber beetles managed to give our plants bacterial wilt. We first noticed some yellowed, drooping leaves last Saturday, and pretty soon the vines dried up, and the whole plant was dead in days. Does anyone know how to control the beetles organically? I’m nervous about using sprays—I don’t want to kill the ladybugs and praying mantises and assassin bugs we have, and, besides, I don’t even know if sprays work on cucumber beetles. Everything I read online about the subject is depressing: “your plant’s beyond help,” “there’s nothing you can do,” “plan ahead next year.” It’s sad.

But I really should stay positive about our garden. It’s still exciting to go outside every morning and see what’s new and what’s ready to harvest. I love being able to take in vegetables each day and to plan meals around them. We’ve been eating so much yellow squash: grilled for tacos and cooked up in curries, sometimes shredded up into muffins or pancakes. Tomorrow I’m going to julienne the last big squash we picked into noodles, and maybe have a ripe tomato or two to throw in along with it.

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