Urban Farmhouse

I have a love affair with Bon Air Library. I’ve been going there my whole life, until January when it closed for six months of repairs, and sent all patrons to Midlothian Library.  A month ago, I got lost on for fifteen minutes trying to find it, but when I finally got to the shopping center, I found something absolutely delightful next to the library.

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Urban Farmhouse is everything I’ve ever wanted in a café: It’s local, all natural, strives to be eco-friendly, serves local coffee, bagels and pastries, has art all over the walls and does concerts. The first time I came by they were playing Led Zeppelin and they sell chocolate covered espresso beans. It’s like someone made me into a restaurant/café. Continue reading

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A thankful girl

During the Thanksgiving season, we all recognize the things we’re thankful for. Maybe you sit around your table and mention to your family over the feast about how much you appreciate them in your lives, or be thankful that your football team is having a great season.  Personally, I’m thankful for a lot- flannel, the color blue and JK Rowling, but there are two things that really rock my world- my city and my school.

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Photos from the 2012 Folk Festival

Every morning, I leave my warm house with a mug of coffee and wait for my car to warm up on the way to school while I weigh the pros and cons of skipping my nine am to sit in Starbucks and look pretty. And as I leave my neighborhood, all I can think is that I’ve loved living here for sixteen years. Once I reach the stoplight, I pass the bank where the tellers know me by name. Buford Road Pharmacy is right up the street from that, where I personally know my customers, and the librarians at Bon Air library have watched me since my mom was picking out children’s books for me. Wow, I am the luckiest person to live in Bon Air, where everyone knows everyone. It’s not that everyone knows your business way either, like high school. People are checking in with each other, and we’re all on friendly terms. I love this place.

By the time I go across the Huguenot Bridge, I’m into the rich part of town and pass the old street I would use to go to my job at Sweet Frog. Yeah, Sweet Frog had it’s moments where I wanted to pull my hair out but Libbie and Grove was a neighborhood and I loved my customers there. Around this time, I like to reflect on how it’s barely been ten minutes and I’ve gone from the suburbs to the city all by crossing a river. Wow, I am so lucky to be a Richmond native, and I could never imagine leaving this city.

Only minutes later I’ve reached Carytown, and passing through all the eclectic, local shops and restaurants I am overwhelmed that Richmond has so many fine places for me to spend my paycheck that I can’t find in other cities. Your favorite restaurant is a chain? I’m sorry, you non-Richmonder, please let me change your mind in seconds with Joe’s Inn spaghetti, Village Cafe milkshake, Carytown Burgers and Fries, or if you’re feeling fancy, French delicacies at Can Can. You want to find something cool? Let’s go to World of Mirth, the only Need Supply Store on the East Coast, or Bygones Vintage. Oh, you only have $2 to spend? Why don’t we catch Despicable Me 2 at the Byrd Theatre? As I speed past the many, many more shops in Carytown, I remind myself that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and my Saint Gertrude High School are just three or four blocks over- how lucky am I to have gone to high school in such a premier part of town?

I push the gas a little faster to get the green light and pass the Boulevard- and I’m immediately greeted by the Sunny Market where my angel Sultan saved the day for me when my car overheated a couple weeks ago and I’m reminded of the good in the world. As I finish jamming to “Blurred Lines”, I reach VCU, silently thanking the scheduling gods that my nine am means that I will always get a first floor parking space. I may hate running to Hibbs Hall in the cold, but by the time I get there la mia professoressa Vera’s lighting up the classroom with her Italian flair and I’m even more content. I’ll be meeting up with Sean and Vivian after this class, just like we do every MWF in the Commons, and they keep me entertained. I’ve got History 101 with Gavin after that, an intellect who interests me- we both advocate the importance of the humanities and he’s well versed in his field- canceling class once because he was “called in to Europe”. (Wait what do you have something secret going on on the side?) I’ll be meeting Alison, Ramya and Aayushi for lunch afterwords, thanking God for amazing new friends and just great people in general. I feel like after all this time, I’ve found people who really get me and you don’t understand how happy I am to be with amazing souls. I know VCU has 33,000 students and Richmond has a population of 210,000, but as I lock my car door and start making my trek across Cherry St, I feel like this school and city were made for me. Where else can I leave the city for elbow room in suburbs in fifteen minutes? Where else do I get to be around young, creative, and intellectual minds (and liberal okay I had to say it)? The best part is that I can be at a VCU building and cross the street and it’s a locally owned coffee shop. I just can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

 

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It’d be easy for me to complain about living with my mom, or not leaving my hometown for college, but why would I? I get to see my family every night, eat better food than Schafer and sleep in my own room for free. So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you have- it’s easy to look at things in a negative light, but it’s a lot better for your mental health to look at what you have and say, hey isn’t this just beautiful? Because we’re all beautiful people, and there’s beauty in every situation.

Once in a while you get shown the light

In the strangest of places, if you look at it right

– The Grateful Dead, “Scarelet Begonias”

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Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your pie and this gif, you awesome reader. I love you and I’m grateful for you!

xoxo

Another Rant on Food

Most people don’t know this about me (and probably my mother included), but I’ve always flirted (not with boys) but with vegetarianism. I’m all about peace, love, happiness, and free food, so of course the next step is equal protection and treatment to all living creatures. Often in high school when bugs were spotted and everyone ran across the room a brave teacher or student killed it or whatever may be, I was the girl sitting in her desk, yelling like a crazy person to let the spider live because he didn’t harm anyone. (I can hear you all muttering “hippie” under your breath)

Sorry I’m not sorry. That spider has a right to live. Just like the chicken Tyson bought before they stuffed it in a cage and nipped its beak and claws (What kinda quality of life is that?) then gave it “feed” or whatever kinda antibiotics, chemicals and processed crap that will get it fat, not real food that chickens are supposed to eat. Which doesn’t really work out in the end because we then eat the chicken and get that gross feed mixture into our system (I don’t think that was part of God’s big plan). 

As you may or may not know from my “Identity Crisis” post, I already am thought of as a vegetarian, and the only thing stopping me going all out is a those small meat cravings and nutritional value. I recently read an article about how people should go for a veggie first than meat kinda mindset during meals (that ain’t happening but I’m going for it). So if I’ll stay an omnivore, I think I’ll at least try to go to local/organic meats and veggies. I love farmer’s markets, not only do they boost local economy and have great fresh fruits and veggies, and eating local is better for your body. When I told my mother this, she just rolled her eyes, Okay great my son will only eat McNuggets and pancakes and my daughter wants her honey local and refuses to touch Tyson. I give up now. I love you Mommy!

It’s hard for anyone to do so, especially in college. The Oregon Hill Farmer’s Market does a deal where you flash your student ID and get a $10 box of fresh, local fruits, jams, and etc (a big box, from what I’ve heard!) You can’t live off the local apples from Schafer either, it must be rough with a Cane’s there as well, but you do what you gotta do (Darn! Chick-fil-a again!) The local/organic is going to cost you more, but think about this: It’s worth more. You pay nothing for Cheeto’s which are nothing for you. My uncle has a little garden at his house, and is always making his own salads and soups and other amazing dishes with them. You go Tim! And for when you eat out, some places like Burger Bach are do that whole grass fed/local/organic shin dig and well everyone loves it. (Also, eat at local restaurants/coffee shops. They will be 1000% then any other chain you go to.)

Did you make it to the end? Are you still with me? No seriously are people actually reading this blog or do you just scroll through until you get to the gifs now? Should we start doing scavenger hunts and contests here? With cookie prizes? (They’ll be made local (by me) and with love)