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Hey there.

Welcome to Sunsets and Street Signs! This platform is where I share my life’s adventures of minimalist living, creative expressions, travel, food, fashion, and family! Stay awhile so we can get to know each other!

Queen City Foodie

Queen City Foodie

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Hello again! It's been a while, but I'm glad to be sitting in front of my computer for recreational purposes again! It's been a bit of a whirlwind in my life, but it's not stopped me from thinking about blogging and what my next several topics might look like. Today, as I was having a dinner date with one of my favorite authors, Liz Gilbert, I came up with my topic for this evenign. No, I wasn’t actually enjoying the evening with Liz Gilbert in the flesh, but as I was eating dinner at the Butterbee’s American Grille down the street from my house, I was re-reading the book Big Magic. I was re-reading the book in preparation for starting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month-November), and began thinking about this blog. I wished I could be more consistent with blogging or even vlogging. I wished I could improve my writing and content. I wished I could make a difference through my creative outlet. Truthfully, I wished I could create more. As I sat and read alone, I realized the genius comes to visit me quite frequently; it’s just that I don’t answer to it’s call quickly enough. I mull over the ideas in my mind as I distract myself with other things that I deem to be more pressing. Ultimately, I fill my days with other things, that all have been important and beneficial to my overall well being, but not necessarily helping me improve my creativity. I realized I want to, and need to turn the focus towards my creative outlets; I need to show up and create, whether that be through writing or painting, I want to create.

In my endeavor to create, I decided that today, I’m going to share on the blog a little bit about the foodie that lives inside of me. If you know anything about me, you know food is a HUGE part of my life…seeing as my revelation about wanting to create came about during dinner, I don’t think that’s much of a surprise. Anyways…here it goes!

Hello, I'm a 28 year old who has lived much of my life excited for the next meal. It's not always been this way, but it's the current me. When I was younger, I didn't really like to eat. I preferred sleep over eating and my parents were concerned I wouldn't gain enough weight. In an attempt to prevent this, they constantly fed me snacks throughout the day. From 4th through 7th grade, I often gave away my lunches to my classmates. I wasn't hungry and they always seemed to think my food was better than what they had. It didn't bother me to give up my food. If I didn't, I would nibble a little bit, and would throw the rest away. I never felt concerned by this because I ate dinner just fine each day. It seemed that I didn't need to eat much at the time. I hardly ate breakfast, or lunch, but I most certainly ate dinner. 

Fast forward to 8th grade, and life took a turn on the food front. I began eating my lunches. Mostly because my parents found out about me giving my food away and made me sit at my sister's table (along with other reasons of course, but that's neither here nor there). She would tell on me if I didn't eat my food, so I started to eat my lunch. After a solid year of this, I definitely gained weight. Yes, I still played sports, but my overall caloric intake increased and I began gaining weight fast. It was at this time that I started to actually crave food. I realized what I had missed for the last several years and, I suppose, I was making up for lost time. I'd changed, and there was no turning back. I also was in full swing of puberty, so that probably had something to do with all the weight gain as well. 

Fast forward to now, and I'm a self-proclaimed foodie! I love food. Meals are what I look forward to each day, oftentimes the best part of the day, in fact. It's not that food is all I can think about, but it certainly helps me find peace each day. Food is a comfort to me. Food is fellowship. Food is connection. Food is what is around when people are together having a good time. Food is a way I can take a break from the large to-do lists. Food is relaxation and rejuvenation. 

I've spent countless hours reading food blogs, looking at pictures of food on Instagram, and reading recipes online. I've watched movies where food is the main character. I love watching TV Shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, also known as Triple-D. I watched my mom cook when I was young, and when I got old enough to help, I started working in the kitchen. I didn't really think too much about it, but here I am, thinking back on my life and realizing just how big of a part food has and still does play in my life.

When James and I were on our honeymoon, we took extra care to find local eats. We reviewed local restaurants on Google Maps and found local tastes that fit our needs. I learned during this trip, that for me to enjoy a vacation, food had to be a major focal point. I take it back, it wasn't then that I realized the importance of local food, but rather the summer of 2014. That summer, I went on a road trip with my sister and father to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. While there, I was really focused on finding the local tastes. In New York, we ate the New York pizza and hot dogs from a vendor. In Philadelphia we ate Philly Cheese steak Sandwiches, and...well I can't remember what we ate in Washington D.C., it's been too long ago now. Haha. Either which way, you can bet that we spent time finding vendors or hole-in-the-wall restaurants to eat the most authentic foods in the region. It was the same during our honeymoon. James and I ate at local restaurants as often as possible, skipping out of the fast food restaurants or overpriced restaurants as much as possible.

To this day, I still think back on our honeymoon and sigh from all the good food we ate. Now that I’ve made my home in Cincinnati, I’ve been eager to explore local restaurants here! I keep a list of places to try and get excited when I can mark a few off. In my previous blog, I would do occasional “Taste of Local” blog posts that turned the focus on to these local eats. I haven’t done that in awhile, but think it might be time to start that back up. For now, I’ll share a few of my current favorites!

1. Milya Cafe, which is a Mediterranean place that sells Gyros! I was doing the Keto diet at the time, so I couldn’t enjoy the Gyro sandwich on pita, but was able to enjoy a huge Gyro salad that was super filling!

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2. A Tavola, which as evidenced by the picture below, makes PIZZAS! James and I got this pizza shortly before I left for a week long trip to Paris and man was the carbs glorious! We got have pepperoni and bacon, and the other half was margherita. So delicious, I was dreaming about it.

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3. Chez Renee French Bistrot. This was a celebration meal that I had with my mother-in-law shortly before leaving for Paris. We decided it was a good time to try French food to make sure I would enjoy my time overseas in Paris! :) I’ve returned from my trip, and it is safe to say that I did in fact enjoy French food.

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Another blog post or so will be written to share some of the highlights of the trip! I just need to go through all the pictures and narrow things down. Until then, I hope this leaves you hungry for adventure, creativity, and food!

~Vanessa R.

Strong is My New Skinny

Strong is My New Skinny

Opening to the world of Vlogging!

Opening to the world of Vlogging!