I promised I wouldn’t make excuses for skipping the ritual of blogging more frequently.  And I’m not… But I’ll merely explain my absence… The past few weeks have been terribly busy and I suffered a sneak attack of allergies that knocked me out so bad, they even sidelined me on my birthday.  Being an April Fools’ Day baby, I’m sure it didn’t look good that I didn’t go to work, but I was genuinely ill. No joke there!

Sickness aside, I had a lovely birthday weekend filled with friends, family and thoughtful gifts.

Here’s a vegan chocolate birthday cake with espresso frosting from Treehouse Bakery.  Words can’t express how yummy this was; it reminded me of the mouthwatering cakes from an exceptional bakery back home that did my wedding cake.

treehouse-bakery-birthday-cake

treehouse-bakery-phoenix-cake

Another birthday treat, The Berkeley veggie pizza from Z Pizza.  We get this every so often as a weekend indulgence, so my birthday was no exception.  Flavorful, chewy crust, fresh cut veggies and melty Daiya cheese make it a winner to me.

z-pizza-berkeley

My husband surprised me with a Kindle and I’m completely enamored!  I secretly wanted one but didn’t say anything.  He knows me so well.  I thought I’d remain a book  purist but it’s so convenient to instant access instead of waiting days for a shipment, weeks on a library waitlist or worse, being robbed by publishers in paying $20 to $30 per title for a hardcover.  At least I have my classics  and pretty coffeetable books to satisfy my lingering purist ways.  I just can’t say enough good stuff about the Kindle.

My folks always know just what I need before I do and they surprised me with a Kindle protective cover.

I got fancy fun charm bracelets (I’m on the right:)) and cool Z Gallerie tea light chandeliers from my bestie.  I still have to figure out where to hang the chandeliers!

charms

Another celebration picture from my party in our backyard.

Namaste,

J 🙂

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For being such a lover of veggies and nature, I’ve never been much of a greenthumb.  With the exception of a hardy bamboo plant as a dining room table centerpiece (and some airplants coming in the mail, update soon), I don’t quite have the magic touch when it comes to plant maintenance (or survival).  We leave the yard to experts and a well-timed irrigation system.

Nonetheless we’ve embarked on planting a little herb garden in a vacant flower bed in the backyard that was once occupied by sweet fuschia colored flowers ravaged by the winter.  We have no idea what we’re doing whatsoever, but we simply got some veggie soil, dug some holes, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  I’ve heard herbs are fairly idiot-proof to grow, so we’ll see.  Hopefully in a few weeks and months time, we’ll have the lovely organic herbs to make pestos, salads and mojitos for the warm months to come.

The before picture:

empty flower bed

Us hard at work:

Some after pictures:

Also, here’s Sunday dinner–sweet potato pasta with nutmeg and daiya and roasted asparagus with lemon and olive oil.

sweet potato pasta and asparagus

Namaste,

J 🙂

People watching is secretly a favorite hobby of mine.  I love to look at what they wear, how they put outfits together, what it says about their personalities, etc.  That’s why I love the site Lookbook.  It’s like a captive street of gorgeous fashionable people from all over the globe.  I’m amazed at how they put such creative pieces together–many of the outfits look better than pieces on a high fashion runway.  I could only aspire to be so chic.

Namaste,

J 🙂

That blog headline is enough to make you pause a little, right?  I’ll get to it in this post soon enough:)

The weekend was filled with the kind of snippets of fun and relaxation that always make it difficult to return on Monday.

First, I got my hair dyed (or glazed rather, since it’s gentler and makes hair shiny) to brighten things up and cover grays.  Yes, the dreaded G word.  I haven’t even turned 27 and I’ve sprouted over the past several months about a dozen scraggly, inch long white hairs mocking me on the top of my head.  I can’t imagine what would have transpired in my life or in my body to cause such a drastic follicle shift.  While some women wear grays as a badge of honor, that’s not the case for me.  If I wasn’t 26 and if I exuded some kind of Helen Mirren older woman appeal, maybe I could pull it off.  But no.  So all I have to say is thank goodness for modern beauty products.

Second, we finally had gardeners come to trim and hack away at all the dead foliage and plants courtesy of a rollercoaster Phoenix winter.  Between the front and backyards, they spent more than two hours landscaping away.  Despite three broken sprinkler heads that were caused by their weed whacking (which will be kindly rectified by them soon) the results were stellar.  It’s still bare, but here’s the “after” results.

phoenix backyard grass

north phoenix backyard trees

I also squeezed in some shopping.  I eagerly went to three of my current favorite shopping spots; H&M, Nordstrom Rack and Whole Foods.  At the first two, I found some new lovely spring basics.  Usually, I have difficulty finding cute, affordable dresses but at the Rack I tried on dozens and even bought two.  I could have bought more but I had to restrain myself:)

Another weekend highlight… R and I were driving near the 101 freeway and what catches our eye, but a tricked out Ghostbusters station wagon!!  It looked so authentic, Bill Murray and Slimer could have come tumbling right out of it.  We were so excited to get a shot that we were fumbling for our camera and didn’t get a closeup like we would have preferred.  So you’ll have to deal with this shot.  Can we say, AWESOME???!!!

ghostbusters station wagon phoenix

Now that brings us to puppet nudity.  We went to a local production of Avenue Q at the Phoenix Theatre.  The play was absolutely hilarious and the venue didn’t have a bad seat in the house.  Along with our tickets, we were given this warning:

avenue q phoenix theatre

They weren’t kidding either.  We witnessed some funny yet blush-worthy, R-rated bumping and grinding.  We went with R’s parents too, so that just enhanced the comedy of the overall situation.  We had a more mild time beforehand; we sat out on the theatre’s lovely patio with some glasses of Sedona wine and listened to the acoustic melodies of a musician that had the EXACT voice of John Mayer.  It was a great night out on the town, and we’d definitely love to go back there.

R took some pics here of me this weekend, and Roxy Roo as well.

Here I am with my cutie before the show.

Snapshots.

Last, but certainly not least, Roxy intently watching March Madness.  Her brackets are in good standings;)

Namaste,

J 🙂

When people find out that I’m vegan, one of the first questions they ask is, “But what do you eat?”

As silly as that question sounds, I can totally understand why they’re often confused or flabbergasted.  After all, in the average American diet, it’s meat, dairy and eggs that take center stage.  Plant based foods are relegated as bit players or garnish, if at all.

Truth be told, I’ve had more culinary prowess as a vegan than I ever had before.  I’m more open to different spices, flavors and food combinations.

To give an idea of “what I eat”, here’s what you’ll likely find in my house on any given day:

Pantry:

-Pasta.  Not the most superhero vegan food but great in moderation.  DeBole’s is my absolute favorite for flavor and texture.  The use of jerusalem artichoke flour helps to lower inflammation levels too.

-Quinoa.  Such a great staple.  This tiny little grain is packed with so many nutrients and is a complete protein.  It makes a great substitute for rice if you care to switch it up.  It can be served hot or cold and combined with just about anything.  True Food Kitchen in Phoenix serves an amazing red quinoa salad with olive oil, lemon juice, almonds, pomegranate and chives.  The red variety has the best flavor.

-Brown rice and sushi rice.  Add the veggies you’d find in a Cali roll sans the crab meat and voila!

-Beans.  Mainly pinto, black and lentil.  I also keep on hand a bean soup or two that can easily be thrown in a crockpot.

-Nuts.  Mainly cashews and almonds.  Almonds are so tasty and filling.  Cashews are surprisingly versatile and when raw ones are soaked, drained and pureed, it makes a great base for a vegan “alfredo”.  R also gets me cashew clusters from Fresh and Easy for a sweet treat.

-Sesame seeds.  They go on all my salads and lots of stir frys.  These little wonders are packed with minerals.

-Tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.

-Loose tea.  Since I hardly ever drink soda, a nice collection of flavored loose leaf teas mixes things up while boosting antioxidants.

-Extra dark chocolate.  Keep the decadence while losing the dairy.

Fridge:

My non-vegan husband often jokes with me about how I pack our nice, new French door fridge to the gills.  It’s not my fault veggies take up so much room:)

I try to buy organic as often as possible.  I also try to pre-wash and cut a lot of “higher maintenance” veggies beforehand or stick to ones that don’t require a ton of prep.

-Romaine

-Spinach

-Carrot

-Mushroom

-Squash

-Kale

-Onion

-Yams

-Lemon

-Garlic

-Avocado.  I can’t rave enough about avocado.  For me, it fills the meat/dairy desire with its substance and creaminess.  With avocado, I never crave those things.

-Bananas

-Oranges/Orange juice (fortified and not from concentrate)

-Strawberries or blueberries

-A Gardein or two or veggie patties or brats for those quick fix nights.  Fake meats are more of an indulgence and I try to steer clear of them as a regular staple.  Sometimes their taste is also too close to the real thing too!  THere are some veggie patties that are totally okay for a regular basis since they’re less processed and all veggie–like Sunshine burgers.

-Tamari

-Sriracha

-Rice Milk

-Ezekiel bread and tortillas.  A go-to breakfast option.

-Earth Balance.  The closest to real butter taste.

-Nut butter for baking or breakfast.

Spices are an entirely different beast.  Suffice it to say I have a ton of them and they’re fun to use! 🙂  The most frequently used are: garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, kosher sea salt, basil, oregano, nutmeg, red pepper.

Happy eating!

Namaste,

J 🙂

Sometimes I feel like I’m prone to seeing double wherever I go.  Either I’m so attuned to pop culture that it’s easy to identify look-alikes or the universe and I have a running inside joke.

I’ve seen countless doppelgangers, but the latest sightings include the following:

–  Ed O’Neil (Married with Children, Modern Family) driving a white 90s Pontiac convertible.

–  Caesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, as a waiter at a fancy resort.

–  BJ Novak (Ryan from The Office) as a fellow wedding guest.

 

That’s all for today folks. Tune in later for more on non-doppelganger recent happenings:)

Namaste,

J 🙂

A list of things I’d love to get to add some style to my life this spring.  Of course, since it’s a lust list, I won’t be getting all of these things, but a girl can dream, right? 🙂

–  Tom’s Shoes.  They look so cozy, versatile and hippie chic.  I’ve tried on a pair and their comfort surpasses most pairs of sneakers.  It would also feel good walking in them knowing that the company is dedicated to such a good cause–matching every purchase with a pair for a child in need.  I think the black sparkle, red and gray are my top picks.

tom's gray vegan shoes

–  Shellac nails.  Weeks of chip-free glossy nails?  Um, yes please.

shellac nail

–  Des Filles a la Vanille Perfume.  I first purchased a bottle of the Imma scent in  a tiny, gorgeously decorated Parisian shop in  the 5th or 6th arrondissement back in 2003.  I just fell in love with the perfume.  When I ran out of that first bottle, I frantically searched online and bought another thankfully from Beautyhabit, a great source for amazing rare finds.  I’m even up for the adventure of  trying another vanilla scent from the line since they were all so uniquely perfect and lovely.  Every time I spritz, it takes me back to beautiful memories.

des filles a la vanille imma

–  BCBG Black Cigarette Pant.  My go-to black pants have seen better days and these are just so effortlessly chic.  I’d feel like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face with a pair of these.

bcbg black cigarette pants

There’s more lovely lustworthy items to add to my list that I’d love to share, but the cool side of my fluffy white pillow is calling.

Goodnight and Namaste,

J 🙂