That is so great to hear! I am also doing well. Now that we’ve gotten the greetings out of the way, we can pretend like the last 16 months of silence are forgiven. Isn’t that how this works?
Ok here’s what you must understand about me: I change my mind more often than I change underwear (I am a dirty hippie, after all). But I’ve decided that I love writing and keeping in touch with you all and talking about all of the wonderful and amazing vegan food that I can, so here I am! Am I forgiven for my absence?
But I need for you guys to share in my excitement for a moment: I’m about to embark on a trip that has been YEARS in the making. I’m talking an Eat-Pray-Love meets vegan foodie who only wears leggings kind of trip. I’m talking three weeks in Europe and pretending I drink coffee and speaking broken and horrific Italian and sticking out like a sore gringo. I’m talking being jet lagged and smelly while shoving food in my mouth at a high rate of speed. I’m talking I may never come back. I’m leaving on Friday for a three week vacation in Spain and Italy!
I’ve never been to Europe, so let’s start there. I’ve never seen anything built in the BC timeframe. Fountains you can drink out of? Are you drunk and high? Not in Atlanta. But in Rome, get those water bottles ready, homies. Did you know that Spain lives the kind of life where the entire country shuts down for 3-4 hours to nap every day? That’s a country I can get behind. Those are the values I also hold dear.
So I’m planning on eating my way through Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Malaga, and Mallorca. Is it weird that I have approximately 30 restaurants in Barcelona to visit but no museums? Don’t answer that. I don’t think that’s weird either. This is why we’re friends.
So! Don’t stray too far. I’ll be making some changes to my blog (new pictures, etc.) and staying active more often. If you’re on Instagram, follow me for all of my adventures: @the_veg_abides. I’ll be back soon with reviews and tons of information about my travels!
The first time I wrote about the Diva Cup, I was a newbie. The second time, I was ready to review. This time, I come to you with a pro/con list that will knock your socks off and leave you begging for more. More Diva Cup, that is. On to the list!
Here’s the deal. Almost every single person I’ve ever told that I am a Diva Cup convert has let the classic “EW” fly from their mouths. Why is it so gross? Is it grosser than shoving cotton up you HooHa to absorb your monthly bill? Is it as gross as letting Aunt Flo hang out in your panties on a cotton pad all day? Listen, let’s cut the bullshit. Periods are stupid and nasty and annoying and dumb. But we have them. And we have to deal with them in the best way we know how, which does not include ignoring the fact that you’re bleeding from an orifice for days on end. Ugh, god it’s the worst. I mean, really.
I have created ZERO waste during my period for almost two years. No tampons, no pads, nada.
I spend zero dollars on my period. I bought the Diva Cup almost two years ago and have never spent another dime.
I don’t have to be discreet with the Diva Cup. I don’t hide anything up my sleeve to run to the bathroom at work. It’s in my body and you don’t even know (unless I tell you).
The instructions say to leave it in for 12 hours, but I routinely leave mine in for 24 hours with no problem whatsoever. Do what makes you feel comfortable, of course.
You can pee with it in.
You can poo with it in.
You can boil that bastard. Seriously! Put your Diva Cup in boiling water for a few minutes to thoroughly clean it and all will be oh so right with your beloved HooHa.
You get to know yourself. REALLY WELL. I’m not sure if this is a pro or a con, but I’m listing it as a pro because “knowing” yourself allows you to tell other people how to “know” you. Ahem.
I never have to worry about feeling “that feeling”. I call it the meerkat. You know, when you’re minding your business and all of a sudden you realize that your tampon has reach its breaking point and all menstruation is heading for the exit like the flood rushing through the mines in the Temple of Doom. This is what you look like when that happens:
See how the little ones are clutching each other in fear? That’s the fear we all have when the menstrual flood approaches.
It can get messy. You should know this going in, but here’s the non-sugar coated truth: you’re cleaning out your menstruation in a sink, so you see and possibly touch everything.
Sometimes I have to force pee out a little bit because I think the Diva Cup is resting on my bladder somehow. Pee can come out slowly.
The Diva Cup can become so well rested inside you that it can be slightly tricky to get it out. Sometimes I have to try again and get a new angle. The body is a mystery, amiright?
It can “leak” if it’s not inserted the correct way. Once you get the hang of it, it’s all vegan gravy.
Basically, I love this thing. I feel like my life is better since I’ve been using it. If it’s not for you, I get it. But you’ll have to take my Diva Cup out of my cold dead hands before I change my ways.
I’m moving into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in a few weeks and I’M SO EXCITED. As in: I cannot stop buying stuff for the apartment that I do not live in yet. I’m trying to control myself…I’ve banned myself from going to Target because that place is like walking into a giant pit where all my money leaves my body. You guys, the other week I went into Target to buy ONE THING (the new Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream. Have you guys tried it??) and then I blacked out and $86 later I find myself in my car wondering what happened. But it was all stuff I NEEDED for the new apartment. There was a green garden gnome fortheloveofgodalmighty. Ahhhhhhhhh ugh. So I can’t go to Target anymore, or Walmart (they had a $5 mirror that I had to have), or apparently any store in Little 5 Points (there were these Atlanta-themed coasters that called to me from inside of a hippie store), or shop at Amazon, or Etsy, or a thrift store, or anywhere else that sells items for purchase. All of this is to say that I have a problem and this is my cry for help.
Let’s talk about some new foodz!
I found these bad boys at Walmart and had to try them. They taste like a buttery blueberry muffin, which is to say I inhaled two of them and broke the speed of sound.
Kroger has really stepped up its vegan game, in my opinion. These patties are HUGE and seriously delicious. I had one for dinner last night and will eat another for lunch today. I highly recommend these.
You may or may not already know that Earth Balance makes sticks of vegan butter. These are perfect for baking because the measurements are already on the side. Or, if you’re like me, they’re perfect to bring to work and keep in a baggie so that you can butter your blueberry waffles. DON’T JUDGE ME.
Please tell me that you already know this: Thin Mints are vegan! Welcome to swim suit season, thin mint eaters!
So, yeah. It’s been 8 months since I last wrote. I have pretty much been dreading this post since August of last year. But it’s time. This post may be a slight downer but I promise that afterward it’s back to food posts and longing to pet cows and epic rants that involve wondering why vegan chocolate costs more than regular chocolate (but seriously, WHY).
I started working as a teacher in August of 2015. I believed wholeheartedly that it was going to be my career for the rest of my life. I thought I would love it. But I soon realized that not only did I not love it, but that I hated it. Teaching was not at all what I thought it would be, and I do blame myself for being naive. I hated that most of my day was spent disciplining, or completing bureaucratic paperwork to prove how you’re teaching, or that I could hear teachers yelling at students across the hall. It was less about what and how you’re teaching, and more about kicking students out of my class and punishing. I think there was only 1 week total in my almost 4 months of teaching that I did not cry. Usually, I cried on the way to school and on the way home. I always always always cried while lying in bed, wondering how much longer I could hold on. I felt beaten down. It seemed like the dream I had longed for was dead and that I was a failure. Why didn’t I love it like so many others? Why couldn’t I be happy doing this?
One Wednesday in November, I came home and laid on the couch and sobbed. My mom told me that I should quit. But wasn’t this job what I was supposed to do with my life? Wasn’t this what I was meant to be? That Wednesday, though, I gave myself permission to change and to end the pain. I realized that I deserve better than this. I turned in my notice that Friday and never went back to the school.
My mom eventually suggested that I start taking antidepressants. They took a while to work, but I do think that the combination of antidepressants and quitting my job helped to heal me. I went to work for a dear friend who owns a restaurant while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. For the first time in my entire adult life, I didn’t have a plan. And it felt amazing! I started to feel like ME again. I was laughing, hanging with friends, smiling, enjoying the sunshine.
When 2016 started, I was ready for anything. Teaching felt (and still feels) like a dream, like it may not have even happened. It’s hard to even remember being in that classroom. I randomly got an email from the law firm I used to work for as a paralegal, and yada yada yada I’m back at the firm full time. Crazy how life works out, right?
I’m moving into an apartment in the city in a month and I’m excited for what’s to come. The following things will all be discussed: getting back to yoga, going to therapy, walking/jogging again, horrible and not-so-horrible dates, and figuring out how to keep climbing mountains. All while eating delicious foods. Stay tuned!
Friends, it has been so long since I posted that I had to wonder if I remembered my password for this site. I must admit where my brain is these days: constantly moving, slightly anxiety-ridden, and a thin layer of panic right below the surface. You see, I will be teaching my first class in a decade in 2 weeks. And while I GREATLY appreciate my friends and family believing in me and knowing I will rock this, it has been harder for my own brain and spirit to catch up.
But something super awesome happened today. I got my oil changed and emissions tested and crazy air filter changed (does anyone else wonder if they keep a crappy air filter on hand to show you and guilt you into buying a new one? This girl would have no idea if the man handed me a carburetor or fuel injector or cheese grater…let alone if it needs to be replaced) and then when it was time to pay, I realized that I had forgotten my card at home. Believe me when I say that this NEVER happens to me. I am so Type A it’s scary to all of those involved and I routinely yell things such as “I JUST organized this!!! Who messed it up?” and “WHY DON’T YOU DO THIS THE WAY I TOLD YOU TO?” and other such things that make one marvel that I am not friend-less. So I told the nice man that I’m a complete loser and I left my card and I live 10 minutes away and I’m so embarrassed and blah blah blah TYPE A FREAKOUT. He waved his hand away and said to me, “I like to believe in the good of humanity. I trust you. Go get your card.” I almost burst into tears at his kindness. I mean, let’s be real. He has my tag number and my address and my name, but whatever! Don’t ruin this moment for me.
It was kindness, plain and sweet. It was a small moment that meant so much more…it meant that all will be fine. It meant that even if I stumble and fall and make a fool of myself and don’t do everything perfectly as a teacher, that I will continue to learn and get better and believe in myself more. Maybe I’m looking more into this simple act than I should. It gave me hope, though, and that’s all that matters. And a clean air filter.
I have some cool posts coming soon…a few reviews and restaurant news. Hopefully a new PlantBasedATL meet up! Oh, and the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals is almost here…join us on October 4 as we walk to spread awareness and raise funds for this amazing cause. It’s going to be super fun!
And now I have this song in my head! Indeed there is a time to laugh and a time to weep. As I entered my last week of work here at the job place today, I couldn’t help but be happy and sad. I’ve laughed so much recently with friends and family, but I have also cried. Sometimes you just need a cathartic cry, amiright? One in which your whole body shakes and you make noises you had no clue could actually emanate from your soul. I always sleep like a baby after a good cry.
I’m about to start a career that has been 10 years in the making. And I am scared shitless. BUT I say that while I simultaneously know I am also smart and excited and capable and a quick learner and will be great at this job. I honestly think that if I wasn’t meditating every morning I would be a panic stricken mess. Like, panic attacks daily.
Lately I’ve been working on gratitude. I’ve discovered a few things about myself recently that have made my heart heavy, but at the same time, I am more hope full than ever before. I am grateful that I can wake up every morning and have a fresh 24 hours to start it all again. I am grateful for old and new friends that inspire me to try to be better and who allow me to fall down, but never for long. I am grateful to have had recent revelations even though they have brought pain with them because they are what make me so amazingly ME. I am grateful for family. I am grateful for delirious laughter. I am grateful for planning future trips.
I’m grateful for you, dear reader, whoever you are. Now. Let’s all have a good cry, then dry our tears, and be grateful together =)
I am just so excited and I can hardly hide it (Hot Sundae 4eva)! Marriage equality is here! I have cried in celebration today as Americans can finally choose who they want to marry.
Ahhhhh what a great day! If you know me at all, you know that I love love. I love when people are in love, I love weddings, I love talking about love, I love crying about love, I love when love finds you. And now my nearest and dearest can express their love and be married like all of us straights.
Who someone marries does not affect my religion, or my life, or how I wear pants (tight and sexy, if you must know). Let people live if they are not hurting anyone. We must continue to unite where love is involved!
Also, crazy news! I put in my two week notice at my job today. I can officially announce that I will be teaching in the fall. WHAT THE WHAT! I know. I’m still in disbelief. But I think when Beevy and I go shopping on Sunday for classroom supplies it will truly hit me that this is real. Also, how great are school/classroom supplies? I want to swim in an endless ocean of #2 pencils and be buried in a grave of pink erasers.
I made a delicious new recipe last night that I cannot wait to try again and nail. I think I put in too much lemon and I also want to add some vegan butter. If you haven’t seen this website, please peep it because she tends to use very minimalist ingredients to make things simple and yummy. The Alfredo was delicious! If you try it, let me know.
Sooooooo that’s all I have to offer the world today! I have cried a few times (such happy tears) and am so happy for the LGBT community. I am excited for this next step in my life and I am hopeful that I will be a great teacher. And I am really really really happy that tomorrow night will bring a Cards Against Humanity night with my dear peeps wherein my cheeks will soon hurt from smiling and laughing. Life truly is good!
What can I tell you about Asheville that you don’t already know? Beautiful mountains: obviously. Amazing food: ridiculous. Possibly the best Days Inn breakfast buffet known to mankind: you actually may not have known this little tidbit of truth. But it’s legit…I even left a TripAdvisor review of it because I felt so strongly about the breakfast buffet. It had delicious kale on it, people! KALE. Say no more, amiright? Let’s get to it!
This year, at the ripe age of turning 33 on Sunday, I found out that the world does not in fact stop turning for my birthday and nor do is actually make sense to have an entire month’s worth of birthday activities. Call it maturity, call it getting my head out from inside my ass, whatever. For the first time ever, I had a joint birthday dinner on Thursday that was so much damn fun! We went to Elmyriachi where I indulged in a shot of tequila, a PBR tall boy, and a chimichanga. YOLO, homies. It was so lovely to be surrounded by the amazing new friends I’ve made this past year since going vegan and diving into the Atlanta vegan scene.
Friday morning Beevy and I headed out early-ish to greet Asheville with a smile and empty bellies. Our first destination: Laughing Seed. You may recall that this is the place where Beevy and I went last year and proceeded to drink for approximately 4 hours. This time, things were different. We each had a beer and yummy food and people watched and sat outside. We had already agreed that we didn’t really want to drink (read: we didn’t really want to be hungover losers) so we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We each packed up some leftovers because our room had a fridge and microwave in it. Score! After our meal, we laid down in our beds and watched trashy reality tv. For 6 hours. I’m not joking. I took a baby cat nap. We ate our leftovers. Then, not very hungry but needing to possibly get out of the hotel room for a little while, we went to Hop to check out the ice cream scene.
Yes, we had ice cream for dinner on Friday and laid around watching tv for 6 hours. Yes, we’re grown adults with jobs. Yes, you wish you were us. The Hop sundae basically made me want to run for President only to make Hop mandatory for children and their vegan aunts on Friday nights . What you see there is a scoop of chocolate hemp milk ice cream, a scoop of vanilla soy milk ice cream, oreos, coconut, chocolate syrup, and coconut whipped cream. I would drive 3 hours for this ice cream sundae, no questions asked. And no, I won’t bring you back any.
So what’s so great about the Days Inn breakfast buffet? Here’s what I got Saturday morning:
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh kale! Hashbrowns! Fruits! Let me tell you, that kale was delightful. It was still slightly crunchy with a tad of a spicy kick to it. After that, we headed to Sunny Point Cafe where we had to wait about an hour and a half for a table (hence why we ate a little before hand). While we waited, we drank!
Once seated we ordered some delicious grub. I got the same thing as last time (what’s with me ordering the same thing??) and Beevy got an omelette. Mine was yummy as hell but I think next time I will try something new.
After brunch, we decided to go swimming at the pool. We stayed outside for about 45 minutes, and then it got cold, and also Beevy and I are translucent in skin tone so we ran indoors to commence laying on the bed once again. We had reservations for Plant for Saturday night, and when we started talking about it, we both realized that we sort of didn’t want to go. It struck us that we didn’t want to pay $20 for an entree that no doubt would be delicious, but we wondered if it would be worth it. We found a new place called Bean Vegan Cuisine and we decided to give it a whirl.
Holy shiitake mushrooms, people. Bean was EVERYTHING I wanted and was so delicious and wonderful and amazing. Beevy and I were treated like queens by our server, Jasmine, who was super informative and awesome. I kid you not when I say that I have already Google Map-ped how long it will take me to get back to Bean from my house (3 hours, give or take). Here’s what the Bean giveth:
You guys! Not only was the food OUTSTANDING but they put a candle in my cake! And they wrote Happy Birthday on the take-out menu for me! And they gave us Bean stickers! Uggggghhhhhhh. To be honest, I’m kind of obsessed with this restaurant. There are not many places that make you feel like home, that are warm and inviting and wonderful. Please please please go there!
On Sunday morning, in honor of the anniversary of my birth, Beevy and I had two rounds of the Days Inn buffet. Here are my two rounds:
Beevy and I also drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and found our way to a portion of the French Broad River where people with kayaks were hopping in. This is how I feel about turning 33:
And this is also how I feel about turning 33:
Then, because we were not in a hurry to get back to Atlanta and also because neither one of us was hungry in any way, we headed back to Bean to peep their brunch.
Basically, Bean brought the brunch heat. Can we talk about what a revelation carrot bacon is for a moment? I am now OBSESSED with that junk. Beevy and I had whole conversations about carrot bacon. I’m thinking that this recipe is a good place for me to start.
Sadly, Beevy and I had to leave glorious Asheville. When I made it home, my whole family celebrated me and showered me with presents and vegetables and vegan cupcakes. I’m truly a lucky girl!
All in all, this was the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time. No drama, no hangovers, no crying, no bad decisions, and surrounded by love. I am ready to take on the year!
Many many great things are on the horizon for this veg-head gal and I can’t wait to share them all with you! One, I get to eat a vegan chimichanga tonight and I’m also wearing a pretty dress and I’m having a joint birthday dinner with two amazing people and life is great. Two, I’m leaving for Asheville tomorrow morning with my ride-or-die Beevy for a girls weekend get away to my all-time favorite mountainous place where we will eat, nap, lay by the pool, watch Bravo, and eat again. Did I mention that it will be our very first time to eat at Plant on Saturday night? I don’t know what to get there! Has anyone been that can advise me? I really want the caramelized Jerusalem artichokes, because, what the hell are we even talking about? Where else can you eat that? When I tell you that I’ve been staring at Plant’s menu for a week and still am no closer to a desision, please believe me. When it’s an all vegan place, my vegan heart yearns to scream out loud “I WANT IT ALL BECAUSE I DESERVE IT AND ALSO JUST BECAUSE I CAN’T EAT THIS ANY OTHER TIME AND SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHAT’S DUKKA?”
Sigh. If there’s one thing I won’t be this weekend, it is hungry. My homie Beevy is always down for an excellent meal, too. We’ve decided that we have to go back to Sunny Point Cafe because it was the jam and we completely cleared our plates and drank mimosas and no one cared that we were there for approximately 3 hours. We’ve also decided that we don’t really want to be hungover like our last Asheville trip (and by “we” I mean “me”) so we’re just gonna chill.
It’s also my birthday on Sunday and I will be 33. How did this happen? How am I in my early-mid thirties? Other than not being able to drink anymore because the hangovers are like knives to the eyes, and having to go to bed at 10:30 on a school night, I don’t necessarily feel super old. It helps that my 17-year-old cousin likes to tell me that all of her friends thought I was 26 (I make her tell me that all the time, almost like a greeting). But it seems like life is finally coming together, piece by piece. It’s progress and not perfection, people. And I am SO GLAD that granny panties are back because I ain’t got time for that. I’m too busy napping.
Is it possible that I’m “expo-ed out”? Am I tired of all the goodies, the coupons, and making small talk with complete strangers? Am I just #OVERIT when it comes to the sensation that my left arm will soon detach itself from my body because it simply cannot hold that many items at once?
No. Have we met? You all should be well aware that I will go to great lengths to be the owner of free items. For a free t-shirt, I’ve stumbled across miles of sweaty and humid terrain with blistered feet. FOR A T-SHIRT. And this expo brought the heat.
I went with my 17-year-old cuz because she’s a bad ass and also because, secretly, I think she’s veg-curious. Though Chik-Fil-A is her favorite food, so I have my work cut out for me. Nevertheless, she was game to see where the day lead us. We met up with my pals Holly and Aaron and let the games begin.
I have seen Saffron Road’s frozen meals before and have never tried them because I can’t find a vegan one. BUT. They showed me that not only do they offer vegan seasoned chickpea snacks (YUM) but they also offer tasty sauce packets. Yay! They’re coming to the vegan side of the world where it’s nice and cozy and the patchouli runs like water. I’m excited to try more of their products!
I was immediately sold on Pacari chocolates for many reasons: family-owned, Ecuadorian, organic, sustainable farming methods, small scale farmers. Sigh. We all were smitten with Pacari and I bought some to take home. You had no idea that lemongrass belonged in chocolate until you taste it Pacari-style.
Oh, Bearded Brothers. So chill. So awesome. I was super happy to see them there and meet them. I will be reviewing their products soon so more on them later.
All in all, it was a great Expo. There was an overwhelming amount of products versus food, but that’s cool. Bloggers were treated especially well there which made me (and my unsuspecting cuz) super happy. On to the next expo!