I met Renee Bryd in our dear friend Kelsie McNair’s kitchen (owner of With Lavender and Lace) we were making guacamole and her husband was schooling me on astrology information. Renee is the sweetest of beings. One of those spirits you can’t help but melt all edges with. She is here today to tell us about her journey and love affair with life and food!
I’m Renee Byrd. I like avocado on/in everything and I never travel without a mini Hario V6 coffee drip filter. I collect handmade mugs like some people collect treasure trolls. I dabble in playing drums and writing poetry. My kitchen is always a mess. I’m a blogger, writer, photographer, and recipe developer and I’ve lived all over Virginia but I currently reside in the small mountain city of Charlottesville, VA with my husband. I blog over at Will Frolic for Food.
How do you start your day?
Cuddling with my husband. Putting the final touches on a blog post while he starts coffee. Making avocado toast and wolfing that down before hitting publish and walking over to catch my favorite ashtanga yoga vinyasa improv class (if I’m lucky).
Describe vibrant living? What does this look like for you?
Vibrant living, to me, starts with practicing love and gratitude: for myself, my blessings, my teachers, my friends, and all beings everywhere. Vibrance, technically, comes from the Sanskrit word vipra which in its most literal translation means “to vibrate.” It’s a word that in Sanskrit is used to describe aspirants (or “the vibrant/vibrating ones”) on their many different paths to self-knowledge, actualization, and realization of the true nature of all things. I bring this up because living a vibrant life, to me, is about experiencing a sense of vibrating with this palpable vitality and grace on our way to ultimate knowledge of the Self or God. Vibrance is about spirit energy supported by internal and external work. A healthy, pure, wholesome diet and balancing physical exertion combined with a centered spiritual practice is what makes living a vibrant life easeful. If you put the work in daily, you can experience vibrance all the time. And begin to share it with others!
You said: “I believe that art and the making of food don’t have to be separate.”
How did you discover that this way your way in life?
After college I started to realize how vital the act of cooking and sharing a lovingly prepared meal or dessert was to my relationships and overall mental health. When my dead-end job was draining me I could touch something beautiful and hopeful and MORE in a pot of curry or a batch of donuts it became essential emotional support. At the time I was working at a grocery store and writing and studying yoga. And making food was the only artistic medium I had that I could share with other humans.
Art elevates our experience of life beyond the mundane. It gives us a sense of the beyond; something emotive and untouchable that exists in our reality but that isn’t often perceived; that we rarely connect with outside of existential or religious experiences.
To me a really fantastic meal can offer illumination and escape;
can act as a salve or a door into experience you otherwise could never touch.
Good food is emotional, nostalgic and yet requires total presence in order to experience it in fullness.
It’s so human.
What does nourishment look like to you?
To me, nourishment is a balance of feeding your heart, soul, body, and mind. Nourishing your heart with loving, supportive relationships (and putting less or no energy towards emotional vampires); your soul with work that feeds you (for me that’s music, yoga, meditation, and cooking); your body with exercise and pure, wholesome foods (mostly plants); and your mind with meditation and the constant pursuit of knowledge.
What would you like everyone to know?
You can do it! Don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than or stop you from pursuing your worthy obsessions. There’s a niche for everything.
Tell me about what you crave?
Avocado toast. Hugs. Hang out times with my husband. Time hiking in the mountains. Coffee. Moving my body.
What are you saying a big Holy YES to these days?
Responding to each and every worthy inquiry and comment with love. Every person deserves to be heard. Especially if they’re taking the time to offer love and support of the work I’m doing! That and reaching out to offer support and love to folks doing good work.
What are your tools and teachers? What have you been learning from them personally?
My teachers are mostly other food bloggers, honestly! I spend a lot of time reading food blogs, and blogs in general. I feel like I’m constantly learning about how to be a better writer, photographer, and recipe developer from the incredible work other bloggers are putting out every day. I sort of feel like the internet is a free workshop for everyone to learn every thing they could possibly want to absorb. My husband calls me Hermione all the time because I’m constantly in study/research mode. I love it.
I also learn a lot through my camera, which — other than my kitchen utensils — is my main tool. I feel like a recently crossed a threshold where I now see terrain and people in terms of colors, light, patterns. I’ve never declared myself to be a visual artist before, and I’m still hesitant to do so. But I’m loving every moment of this journey and what it’s teaching me about how light paints our world and our perceptions.
I read this on your site: “Favorite textures: old cast iron, linen, well-cared-for oiled wood, tarnished silver, coarse sea salt.”
This was so simply soulful. I wonder, what is your favorite sounds? Smells? Sites?
Sounds: my husbands bursting laugh, the sound of coffee being poured into a ceramic mug, an egg being cracked and landing in a gently sizzling pan, the sound of the ocean from far away as you’re driving toward it.
Smells: melting ghee, fresh snow, clean bed linens that smell like my lavender dryer sheets, freshly roasted cacao, the smell tomato plants leave on your hands after you touch them to check on the fruit.
Sights: giant jars of our fresh roasted cacao and coffee, my husband sleeping peacefully, looking out over valleys at the top of a mountain path, early spring asparagus growing in our backyard, blackberry stains on my fingers.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
Live. Live fully. Live with stubborn joy.
Wanna follow along with Renee and her chocolate journey? See what they are up to HERE on her website.
***You can also scoop up and try some of her really delightful recipes, she is always posting new ones.