image by Tracy Harder [waveringseas.com]
So… I guess I’ll start at the beginning, right?
Hi - I’m Michelle! I grew up between two countries and two very different cultures; English and Czech. Up until this Summer, I spent my youth in New Jersey, but every year or so I would spend 2-3 months during the Summer in the Czech Republic, where my family resides. Growing up with each foot in two different doors, I was a bit confused, to say the least. While I would spend the Summer in Europe, I was never really exposed to many kids my age to spend time with, and when I did, I felt so out of place there - yet, that same feeling came across to me in the states. When I was in elementary school in Jersey, I remember my classmates staring at me with their jaws hanging down to the floor, asking me questions about what I was eating, and where I was ‘from’. I mean, I was born in the states just like all of them, yet I was still different. Fast forward a few years, and I was content at school. I had a close group of loyal friends that understood me, and I felt comfortable around them as well. Yet, that strange feeling that I always had in New Jersey never quite went away. I still felt like a stranger there, even surrounded by so many wonderful people. After taking a gap year post high school graduation to work and decide what I wanted, I got accepted to the school I had longed for - and it was in North Carolina. After visiting the first time, having never been in the state, I can confidently say that I. was. smitten. It was so full of beautiful nature and incredible people, and it simply felt like the right move. And, after being in the school for the past two months, I can gladly say that I made the best decision.
So, wait, when and why did you go vegan?
During the Summer of 2015, I was living with my grandparents in their Czech cottage. They live in the cutest village near the mountains, and no matter the season, it always somehow tends to feel like a dream or a fairytale - y’all can choose your preference. Now, my grandparents have both chickens and rabbits that they take care of - chickens for the eggs, and rabbits for their meat. Yup, you heard me. If you didn’t know, rabbit is a popular Eastern European dish. A lot of people say it’s very lean, and tastes similar to chicken. But here’s the thing - I loved those rabbits. There were usually a few newborn bunnies so I would always beg my grandpa to hold them. Yet, one afternoon my grandma shouts for all of us to come inside for lunch; little did I know those rabbits would be on my plate. As I take my shoes off and head inside, I can smell the aroma of roasted meat, unsure of it’s origin. I went to the kitchen to make my plate - and saw that the meat that was roasted looked a bit small and darker than usual. I turned to my grandma and asked what it was - and with a proud grin, she told me my grandpa had killed one of the older rabbits that needed to go and she cooked it that same morning. I stared at my plate and said, “I’m not eating this.” That afternoon, I ate everything on my plate besides the rabbit, feeling that it would simply be wrong and disrespectful to do the opposite. And, looking back, I think something in me clicked that day. Upon returning home, I began doing research on vegetarianism, veganism, and animal cruelty. The things I found were horrendous and nauseating, which led me to slowly change my diet. And, on New Years, I promised myself that I would try my very best to eat a plant-based diet. It took a few months for me to fully make that transition, but it was hands-down one of the best decisions I have ever made. As I mentioned before, I used to be a very picky eater and didn’t enjoy food to it’s fullest. Due to that mentality, I was also quiet underweight - I remember a few years back being about 110 lb - and i’m 5’7’’. Yet once I went vegan, I started to enjoy food again and eat almost triple of what I once did - and I’ve never been happier.
Of course, I know that veganism is not for everybody, and I’m okay with that. It is also something that doesn’t happen overnight - it’s a process. Something that does make me happy is that veganism is becoming more and more popular, and though not everybody is 100% living that lifestyle, there are more and more people that have been making a conscious effort to change a few products here and there, such as having a meatless Monday, or changing from cow’s milk to almond milk. Even just eating vegan meals a few times a week makes a huge impact - and if everybody does a little, it will amount to a whole lot.
How did you begin photography?
This answer is much shorter, I promise! That same Summer of 15’ is when I created my Instagram account - I didn't have wifi for most of that Summer (again, cottage in the mountains) so when I had the chance to be on wifi, I would post a few pictures on Instagram so that my friends could see what I was up to. Upon returning home, I kept the app and began finding a plethora of vegan accounts, adding fuel to my fire. I became super inspired, and began playing around with food photos, just using my phone. Then, the following Summer, one of my closest friends wanted to get rid of her old Canon DSLR, and I was begging her to sell it to me - I got that baby for $140 and I was beyond excited. I had that camera for over a year, and then last November, I decided I wanted to upgrade. I sold my first camera on Let Go - though I don’t recommend it because it was kinda a sketchy situations - but hey, I got my cash. I put that money towards my new camera and over time, got a few better lenses for what I needed. Needless to say, I have a huge love for photography and my love for cooking has only fueled that.
So I think that’s a good amount of information for now, right? I mean, if y’all have anymore questions don’t hesitate to ask me! I truly hope that you all enjoy my recipes and what I will be sharing on here, because it’s really just a space for me to share everything I love, and hopefully influence you to do the same!