Life

Air Filters are Make Believe.

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!

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Food Coma, Life

10 Things I Love: Tuesday Edition

1. Sprouts. I had been waiting for this damn store to open near me, as my jealousy for those west-coast people grew by the day. Do those Californians really get to have sunshine and Sprouts, too? No longer, friends! Sprouts has been popping up everywhere in Georgia, allowing me ample time to finally realize the dreaded truth: Whole Foods is too damn far from me, and it is waaaay too expensive. So long, vegan cookies that I don’t need but always buy…goodbye, awesome fresh juice stand. There’s a new sheriff in town. If you’re lucky enough to live or work by a Sprouts, take your happy arse over there and take a big whiff of savings on healthy goodies.

2. Almond butter. This sleeper food has slowly risen to the top of my “Just one more bite…” list. Go for the organic raw variety, where the only ingredient is “almonds.” Damn. Isn’t simplicity awesome? There is an important warning to go along with this: Kroger called me (how in the hell did they get my number?) to tell me that there has been a mass recall of MaraNatha almond butter (my favorite kind!) due to a possible salmonella contamination. Get thee to Kroger (https://www.kroger.com/recall_alerts) to see if you have purchased any of these products. I had, and two jars had to be returned last night. It took the clerk five minutes to pry them from my hands. Now I must dip my apples in the subpar Sunbutter. Sigh.

Total recall.
Total recall.

3. The library. This should go without saying. It’s free and it’s not just for your grandma. Rent movies, music (cough cough…burn it to your computer…cough cough), and books. You know, those things with paper pages and words typed on them that smell like old people. Did I mention it’s free?

4. Sesame fries at Takorea. Though Takora is not exactly in my neighborhood, I will travel a great many miles to satiate my sesame fry needs. Read about Takora here and learn why it’s one of my new favorite Atlanta spots. Give me fries or give me death!

5. Revolution Doughnuts. It took me long enough to try this place, mainly due to Atlanta having so many awesome vegan places that I want to try immediately. I got a dozen doughnuts one Saturday and brought (almost) all of them home for the fam. My personal favorite is the coconut, which I long for day in and day out. Their catchphrase is “Put Something Good in Your Mouth.” Clearly, I am meant to live in the back and make doughnuts like an elf in the night. Peep them here: http://revolutiondoughnuts.com/#welcome.

6. Farm Sanctuary / Walk for Farm Animals. We all know about Farm Sanctuary (don’t we?) and how awesome they are. With two locations in California and one in New York, they are the first sanctuary of its kind to rescue farm animals from the factory farming industry. Farm animals have rapidly become a cause that is very dear to my heart (which you can read about here) and I secretly long to run away from the daily grind to join forces with those that care for these amazing animals. One day. Atlanta is hosting Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals on October 5 this year, and Gene Baur (Farm Santuary’s President and Co-Founder) will be speaking at the event. Seriously, I can hardly contain my excitement. I have read Gene Baur’s book and have cried over all that he has done to save lives. It will be amazing to walk with him for this cause. If you’re thinking about going, walk with me! Check the walk out here and also cruise around Farm Sanctuary’s website: http://events.walkforfarmanimals.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=646.

7. Asheville. Ahhhhhhh Asheville. Sweet, beloved, hippie paradise, mountain mama land, Asheville. I have been craving and yearning for the colored fall leaves, the crisp windy air, bright pumpkins, and scary Halloween. This year, I will celebrate nature and all that is awesome in Asheville this November. Hopefully Momma Veg-Head can come with me, as she desperately needs a vacation. If not, dare I take this vacation alone?

8. Loving Hut’s Monthly Buffet. Friends, the brilliant minds at the Loving Hut have stumped me once again. I thought I would never find better than their Pad Thai (read about that here), but I have. Once a month, the Loving Hut in Norcross offers an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet for $11.99. I had the chance to swing by on Saturday and I was not disappointed. Well, I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t unhinge my jaw to continue eating much like the anaconda. The monthly buffet changes each month, so if you missed it this past Saturday, fear not. The buffet will rise again!

The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.
The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.

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9. Vegan MoFo. Eeeeeeeek I am SO very excited for this! Not only am I still planning my Vegan MoFo posts for September, but I have actually created a calendar for which posts should go on which day. But seriously, is anyone surprised by the nerdiness/organization? Sometimes I scare myself.

10. Card from Fritz. I’m going to visit my homie Fritz in NYC in September for her birthday. Though there’s never enough time in New York, the trip is going to be amazing. Want proof? This chica sent me this card, in the mail:

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She actually found a card with a “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” pun. This woman is unstoppable. One of my other friends (holler, Adrienne!) has taught me how awesome snail mail is. Now, I believe. How great is it to get an actual card in the mail? It made my Monday so sassy.

Book Love

Jenny Brown’s “The Lucky Ones”

As soon as it arrived in the mail from the lovely Amazon, I stopped whatever food industry book I was reading and began reading Jenny Brown’s “The Lucky Ones.” I ended up reading this book in about 3 days, not including time spent crying. And yes, it made me cry.

Jenny Brown is one of my newest unsung heroes. You see, many of my new heroes are those that pave the way for others in this world, and these people do this without much hesitation. They do what needs to be done. The common folk would most likely not name Jenny Brown as a hero, and therefore she is unsung. But after reading this book and learning of her life’s work, she will remain firmly planted in my “I Want to be Like Them When I Grow Up” list.

Hero.
Hero.

This all started with Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary. So we can blame him for his awesomeness. He began Farm Sanctuary (http://www.farmsanctuary.org) many moons ago and he has based his life’s work on helping farm animals that come from factory farming, hoarding, and breeding situations. These animals are intelligent, gentle, kind, loving, and have a mommy just like we all do. The wonderful people at Farm Sanctuary make sure these farm animals never know anger, fear, hunger, or loneliness like they once did. Side note: did you know that 99% of all meat eaten comes from factory farming? If you don’t know what factory farming is, read about it at the Farm Sanctuary website. Better yet, watch “Earthlings.” Be warned, it will change your life forever.

Farm Sanctuary lead me to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary which lead to me to Jenny Brown, Woodstock’s co-founder. Her book is amazing and witty, full of love and life. I cried when I read about her losing her cat, because one day I will lose mine. The mere thought of my cat dying is enough to make me sob. I found my journey to veg-head to be similar to Jenny’s. I was not born vegan and neither was Jenny.  It took many years, for the both of us, to find what best suited us. Her book is filled with amazing stories of what lead her down this path. She is a very talented person that had an amazing career, and she decided to choose a different path. There are many differences between Jenny and I (and it’s not just that she has a prosthetic leg), but there is one huge one that resonated with me while reading her book.

Jenny is brave, while I am not. My desire to work on a farm sanctuary has grown to epic proportions recently. I want to quit my job, take all of the money I have, and move to a farm sanctuary so that I can help these animals. I want to learn the ins and outs of running a farm. I want to wake up to roosters crowing. I want to learn all of the quirks of these animals and be chased for belly rubs. I want to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow because I am exhausted from feeding animals all day long. I want to be with like-minded people that are vegans and share recipes and share the load. I want to greet the newest animals and help clean the barns and understand the way animal sounds are amazing. I want to live this life.

But I am scared. Who the hell does that? I’m leaving my family and my freakishly adorable nephews to go feed farm animals? To go live somewhere else? Who would understand that? Who would support that decision? I am envious of Jenny because she did what her heart told her to do. And against all odds, she followed her heart to help animals. She created a safe place for them where their every need is forever met. She is an unsung hero of mine.

When I begin teaching in the fall of 2015, I’ve already decided that I want to intern at a farm sanctuary for the summer of 2016 (summers off for teachers ftw!). If I choose not to dedicate my entire life to farm animals, I can dedicate my summers to them.

Please check Woodstock and Jenny out: http://woodstocksanctuary.org/

What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals? – Jonathan Safran Foer