Literate & Stylish: Abi from Vanilla and Lace

The premise of Literate & Stylish is simple, and the post is short but sweet- every Thursday I'll be showcasing a lovely lady and her favorite book. She'll share a few pretty photos showing off her personal style, along with her book of choice, and tell us why she loves it. 

from Abi of Vanilla and Lace

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher

Wasted is a raw and compelling memoir written by Marya, about her life-threatening struggle with anorexia and bulimia. She talks honestly about her love affair with hunger, drugs, sex and death. She recreates her experiences and illuminates the tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying eating disorders. As you would probably guess about a book on this subject, it is heavy and heart wrenching at times.. as she describes her hell on earth and ultimately ends up hospitalized at 52 pounds. It does, however, end well and positive. In my opinion it is a must-read for everyone, whether you can relate a little or a lot. It is beautifully written and brutally honest.. and it quite literally changed my life!

see previous Literate & Stylish posts here.

Food and Life and Summertime

Isn't it interesting how food can evoke such vivid memories? The taste, the color, the smell, the texture; it all brings us back to particular places and specific times in our lives. For me, summertime ushers in especially intense memories as seasonal fruits and vegetables take me back to my childhood growing up in the green, green forests of the East Coast, surrounded by my Mom's gardens and enjoying homegrown fruits and vegetables every day.

Vermont, Summer 2011Vermont, Summer 2011Vermont, Summer 2011

It's something as simple as the smell of rosemary that reminds me of the red skinned potato salad we would get from the small grocer down the street from our house, or corn on the cob that remind me of my Mom and Dad, sitting on the steps shucking corn- the silky fibers and rough, snappy green husks going everywhere. It's the snap of the green beans into the colander, the smell of red, ripe tomatoes on the vine, or even Ball Park franks, Heinz ketchup and Gulden's spicy mustard that remind me of nightly barbeques in our backyard.

Summer is a lot of things, but to me it's always that first trip up to Carvel, gelatis from Rita's, or the ice cream truck at the park. It's the way orange and cream anything instantly transports me to the boardwalk, seagulls squawking and swooping in the distance, the ocean sounds mixing with laughing children, the smell of sunscreen and salt hanging in the air, all while enjoying a special treat- an orange and cream ice cream cone from Kohr's. The beach will always remind me of Gouda cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, and how amazing crisp green grapes can taste under a big umbrella, on a brightly-colored towel. Summertime is slurpees from 7-11, sub sandwiches from Wawa, and berries. Always berries, every summer, and the first ripe raspberries of the season will always evoke memories of eating them by the handful out of my parents' refrigerator.

New Jersey Shore, Summer 2011

kohl's orange and cream- a boardwalk tradition!

And so I think a lot about what we feed Henry and the experiences we give him through food. I look forward to having our own big garden he can help me plant and maintain. I am excited to shuck corn with him, pick our own berries from the bush in our backyard, and to enjoy experiences from the things we prepare and eat every single day, be it making homemade pizza in the kitchen, barbequing tofu kebabs out back, or taking a family trip up to Dairy Queen when the temperatures start to rise. Being a parent is great for a million reasons, but one of my favorites in the ability to make your child's environment as beautiful and magical as possible, in so many different ways. For me, summertime has always been a time full of adventure and enjoyment, filled with sweet treats and healthy, whole foods. And so I look forward to giving our boy as many of those ice cream-cone and fresh fruit-filled summers as I can, making memories from the simple, everyday things that somehow turn special in the shine of the summer sun.

Tattoo Tuesday V.123

Name and blog name:  Ashley at, I blog with my boyfriend, Daniel.
Age: 19
Occupation: Graphic Designer/Legal Assistant
Age of first tattoo: 18
Favorite tattoo: Oh my! I have to pick! I love both of them!
Featured tattoo/location:  My bluebird and pocket watch on my right thigh
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Dennis Sullivan in Clarksville, TN. I will only ever go to him!

1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning? 

Well, my first tattoo was the bluebird on my right thigh. It doesn’t have any significant meaning, like all of my tattoos thus far, but the bluebird is my favorite bird and the pocket watch depicts what time I was born. (Just a cool detail I thought was great to add to the pocket watch.)

2) Do you have any other tattoos?  If so, what do you have and where? (photos of each one are awesome)

I do! I have three red/pinkish carnations on my upper arm. Carnations are some of my favorite flowers.

3) Do you plan on getting more?

It is very possible! I currently work in a profession where there is little room for escape from the usual stereotypes associated with tattoos, so I have to be careful and cover up when necessary. But, I am going to school to finish my graphic design degree, so I won't be a legal assistant forever!

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoos?  Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos?

My mother and her side of the family LOVE my tattoos.  My father and his side, however, despise the idea of them.  They just tolerate them nicely, I guess you could say. Daniel's family also doesn't really like them, but fortunately, they are still very open and accepting of me one day marrying their son. Daniel loves my tattoos as well, and is even thinking about getting a few.

5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos?

I haven't really had any weird experiences other than people want to touch my tattoos to see what they feel like. I also hear, “you don't seem like someone who would have tattoos at all.”

6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Upon first receiving the tattoo on my upper arm, a had a guy in my 3D Design class make a really, really hurtful comment about my tattoo. I had to leave the room, and I cried and cried wondering why in the world someone could be so cruel!

Before I went back to the design room, I was trying to figure how I should receive his comment. Although it was extremely hurtful, and had no other intention than bringing down another human being, it is very important to remember people with tattoos can be just as cruel when getting defensive about the art on their bodies. Someone with a tattoo can easily fill the stereotype “people with tattoos are aggressive because there are a biker or went to jail”  that is commonly associated with tattoos by the way they react to people's negativity. I believe it is better to take a comment, or what ever it may be, with a grain of salt, continue to be nice to such a hurtful person not matter how hard. Break that stereotype, because most people with a tattoos nowadays hardly fit such a mold!

Our Weekend in Photos

The past few days were chock full of things to do, and I'm sitting here thinking back over all of it and feeling extra grateful that Hank doesn't work on weekends anymore. I love having Saturday and Sunday to do all of things we love- cook and enjoy great meals, take some downtown strolls, and this weekend we even got to enjoy the first ice cream cone of summer.

On Friday morning I hosted a playdate at our place, then Henry and I spent the rest of the afternoon doing things around the house and running a few errands between nap times. Later that night we met my friend Veronica, her husband Trevor, and their son Max (Henry's favorite buddy) for Mexican food. Saturday Henry and I met Veronica and Max for a long walk and a trip to our local Farmer's Market. It was such a beautiful morning and we had a great time soaking up the sun. I came home with some really, really delicious vegan spinach artichoke dip and a potato samosa for Hank. Later that afternoon I had a hair appointment, and I lightened up the dark hair I've had forever. It feels so nice to be rid of that harsh color, and I'm glad I finally did it! We also cut off a couple inches and I'm really happy with it, even though we still have to get a bit of the brassiness out next time. The rest of the day was full of family time, downtown walking, and some delicious treats. And today was more of the same- the Whiskey Row benefit was happening on the square so we spent a bit of the day checking it out and enjoying the pretty weather...and trying to ignore the wildfire smoke that is unfortunately filling the air.

On a side note, this is the first time I've really edited my photos outside of Picnik. Isn't that crazy? I have photoshop on our computer now and I'm still figuring it out, but I'm having fun making my photos look a lot better.  And I can't believe it took me so long! I want to go back through ALL of the photos I've ever posted and clean them up and make them look prettier. But that would take forever and be crazy, so I'm starting fresh from here. I'm really looking forward to taking a million photos this summer, so I hope you guys are ready for it!

Here are some snapshots from our weekend -

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