Monday, September 24, 2012

DC VegFest 2012

DC VegFest was this weekend!  I wait all year for this one day festival of a celebration of all things veggie in the DC/MD/VA area (and even some from farther away)! It had a new location, tons of new vendors, great speakers and beautiful, sunny weather.  It was great to see so many vegans, vegetarians, veg-friendly folks and curious omnivores in one place!

Beautiful baked goods from Vegan Treats

Yards Park, the new location for DC Vegfest, had some beautiful views.  It was also nice to be able to get away from the crowds for a bit to have some lunch by the water!

Posing with the DC VegFest carrot!

Jesse trying loads of delicious vegan food.  I think this was Jamaican.  I had a delicious lunch from Dama Ethiopian restaurant. There was so much to choose from!

This beautiful guy or girl was up for adoption!  We so wish we could've taken him/her home with us!

We already can't wait for next year!

Monday, September 17, 2012

2012 Walk for Farm Animals

This past weekend we participated in the 2012 Walk for Farm Animals to benefit the work of Farm Sanctuary.  It was absolutely perfect weather and we had such a good time!

 Jesse posing in front of the Washington Monument before the walk.

Someone brought their pet pig to the walk.

Mid-walk:  Love this picture of the cow and pig with the Capitol building in the background.

 Posing with the mascots!

At the end of the walk, we were treated to a talk by Gene Baur, the founder of Farm Sanctuary.  The bottom line of his talk?  Go vegan!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Revelry Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

How is it possible that I had never read We Need to Talk About Kevin?  It won the Orange Prize in 2005 and yet I had never heard of it until Tilda Swinton was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film adaptation.  Even then, I am not sure I realized it was a novel until I stumbled across it while perusing the stacks in The Strand in New York City.

Here is the synopsis from the Orange Prize website:

"Kevin Katchadourian killed seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher, shortly before his sixteenth birthday. He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband Franklin, the story of Kevin's upbringing.

A successful career woman, Eva is reluctant to forgo her independence and the life she shares with Franklin to become a mother. Once Kevin is born, she experiences extreme alienation and dislike of Kevin as he grows up to become a spiteful and cruel child. When Kevin commits murder, Eva fears that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become. But how much is she to blame? And if it isn't her fault, why did he do it?"

I think because I am a part of the generation that was perhaps most impacted by what happened at Columbine (I was a junior in high school), I desperately seek answers to why people commit these kinds of violent acts.  I pore over news articles, books, videos, etc. every time something of this nature happens, with both intrigue and fear coursing through my veins.  As an aside, if you are interested in learning more about the Columbine massacre, I highly recommend you read David Cullen's book, Columbine.  It's fantastic.

We Need to Talk About Kevin provides another (albeit fictional) perspective to the mix: the novel is told from the point of view of Kevin's mother.  I cannot even begin to understand a fraction of the anguish, guilt and other mixed feelings that the parents of these teenagers feel, but this book makes one attempt.  How much are the parents or other family dynamics to blame?  How is someone's behavior shaped?  Where is the line between a moody teenager and someone who will commit this type of heinous crime? 

I inhaled this book. It had my absolute attention every night for a week. The writing was superb and the form (of letters by Kevin's mother written to her estranged husband) provided insights that might not have otherwise existed.  By the end of the book, I was begging everyone I know to read it so that we could talk about both the book and the bigger questions it raises.  This one would be excellent for a book club pick.  And the movie version?  It was good but due to the time limits, they had to leave out a lot of small moments and details that held so much meaning.  Read the book first!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Planning a Vegan Wedding

Remember a few months ago when I mentioned that my love and I had gotten engaged?  We've spent the past few months researching, planning, changing our minds, planning again and simply trying to find a way to create a wedding that has meaning to us without totally breaking the bank and without totally giving into the craziness that is the wedding industry.  The only non-negotiable is that we want a vegan wedding.  You would think that this would have been a given to our  families and they would be completely on board with it, but you would be wrong.  My parents in particular seemed a bit shocked that you could have a wedding without serving animals.

So that brings me to planning a vegan wedding.  I give thanks every single day that my fiance is also vegan.  I can't even imagine planning our wedding otherwise.  Jesse and I are vegan for the animals, the earth and ourselves and we want a wedding that is in line with those beliefs.  Here are some things we need to consider:

-The Food:  What will we serve our guests (other than us, only one that I know of is vegetarian)?  Will they like it?  Will we?  Can we find gluten-free options?  Will it be too expensive?  Do we want a traditional wedding caterer or to hire a vegan company/restaurant/person?  What about the cake?  We want to be sure to serve something that lets our guests know exactly how awesome vegan food can be.

-The Favors: What type of favor is most useful/meaningful?  What can we give our guests that speaks to who we are as a couple?  Should we make a donation instead of having favors?

-The Dress/The Suit:  No silk.  No wool.  No leather shoes.  I don't want to spend the first day of my married life wearing an animal, thank you very much.

-The Invitations:  I would like to have them printed on recycled paper with soy ink.  Do we let people know on the invitation that we will be having a vegan buffet?

-The Honeymoon:  Where should we go?  Does the place have lots of vegan options?  Do we want to somehow incorporate animals?

It seems like a lot but I've found our parameters more helpful in terms of decision-making rather than limiting.  So far we've met with one vegan caterer (who served us a whole meal instead of just giving us a tasting--it was awesome!) and did some research on vegan cakes.  I've also been soaking up inspiration from the VegNews annual feature on vegan weddings, as well as the blog Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings.  While writing this, I also came across PETA's Top 10 Vegan Wedding Ideas.

If you have planned or been to a vegan or vegetarian wedding, do you have any advice?  Are we missing anything that we need to consider?  If you were a guest, would you prefer to be told on the invitation that it will be a vegan wedding or not?

Stay tuned for most posts on wedding planning and thoughts on weddings and marriage (vegan and otherwise)......

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Revelry Review: Vedge

Oh my, dear readers, a few weeks ago I had the best dinner of my life at Vedge in Philadelphia.  Vegan fine dining of deliciously prepared vegetables in a beautiful setting.  It was amazing.  Here is some of the evidence (taken on my phone in a dark dining room):

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Revelry Review: Beyond Meat

I was strolling through our sort of local vegan-friendly grocery store last weekend and came across Beyond Meat!  I had heard of this new chicken substitute through Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times a few months back and the fact that the founders of Twitter were financially backing this product.  While we don't eat too many meat substitutes in our house, I was particularly looking forward to giving Beyond Meat a try since it is gluten-free and could open up some new dinner ideas for us.   Here is the nutritional information.  Here it is in the package:

Up close (this stuff looks and feels JUST like chicken!):

We added some to burrito bowls that followed this recipe

Also got this new product on our grocery jaunt (melts really well but I think I prefer Daiya):

The completed bowls (with Tofutti sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and avocado over brown rice):

Another quick weeknight dish with Beyond Meat: brown rice pasta with tomato sauce, Beyond Meat, olives, dino kale and chickpeas:

The verdict?  I had to keep checking the package for the word "vegan" because this stuff tastes just like the real deal (without the cruelty).  It would have been a great transition food for me (chicken was the last thing to go!) and we may get it again when we want to cook something that calls for chicken.  Beyond Meat is a huge step forward in the faux meat category!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vegan Baking Class

Last night I went to a vegan baking class with Doron Petersan, the owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats here in the DC area. It was put on by Living Social, which recently opened a location downtown, as a part of their new gourmet series. I didn't see much of the space, but they did have an art room and a phenomenal cooking class space. I felt like I was a student at the Culinary Institute of America! First we made S'mores Brownies. Here are my (and my partner's) brownies, fresh out of the oven:

We also made the Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Spiced Rum icing that helped Doron to win Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. We used an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size (and to have less of a mess). I'll definitely be doing this from now on!

The class included drink pairings. We had a beer with the brownies and a dark and stormy with the cupcakes. I don't know why I haven't had a dark and stormy before, but I think that is all I might drink from now on! It's ginger beer, rum and lime. Perfection!

We took my brownies out of the pan first, so we sacrificed beauty for taste. I ended up with essentially a giant s'mores brownie cake (with deeeeeelicious Sweet and Sara marshmallows):

Here are the finished cupcakes. I need to work on my icing skills.

And here is me and Doron! What a great night! I would definitely go back and take other Living Social classes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


These past few weeks have been something of a whirlwind! First, I celebrated my 30th birthday on February 10th. I took the day off from work, planning on just relaxing and not doing much of anything. However, Jesse booked me a massage, took me out to dinner at Agora and sent me these beautiful flowers:

We also had a fantastic Valentine's Day. Jesse again gave me beautiful flowers and we had a delicious dinner date at Oyamel.

Even though all of that was wonderful, the best part came on February 18th, when this happened while we were in New Jersey visiting my family:

I said yes! He proposed in the sweetest way imaginable and totally took me by surprise. We went out to dinner to Buddakan in Atlantic City to celebrate.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Since today is a day to celebrate love, I thought I would share some things I've been loving lately:

-The adorable Valentine's votives pictured to the right, which I saw on Pinterest and are from the Homemade Serenity blog. I love, love, love how sweet these are. Next year, for sure.

-On Style and Systems from the Pink of Perfection blog.

-Gena's take on the disturbing PCRM "your thighs on cheese" ads. I had been waiting for someone to write a thoughtful and carefully laid out critique of these ads since I first saw them. While I love most of PCRM's work, these ads are really out of line. Here's to hoping they choose a different way to get their message across in the future.

-Kris Carr's new ebook, Crazy Sexy Juices and Succulent Smoothies. 80 pages of green drink goodness.

-The documentary "Life in a Day". At first I felt a bit like a creepy voyeur, but I came to appreciate this look at life on a single day around the world.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just say no to horse diving

My heart is so heavy (and angry!) right now. I have just learned that Atlantic City is going to bring back horse diving, which was at its height of popularity in the 1920s but continued until the early 1990s, as a way to increase tourism this summer.

I grew up in a town just outside of Atlantic City, hearing romanticized stories about this time period. I watched the movie "Wild Hearts Can't be Broken" over and over and over again. I used to wish I had been able to witness--or even perform!-- such a feat.

And then I learned that the horses didn't just willingly jump. They are walked out onto a platform with their rider and then the platform is dropped out from underneath of them. Diving like this is NOT natural for a horse, so it causes trauma and fright, not to mention any injuries that can be sustained to both rider and horse upon hitting the water (such as retinal detachment or spinal cord injury). And all this doesn't include any mistreatment during their care when they are not performing.

The owner of the Steel Pier, where the diving will take place, has said: "We know the diving horse is controversial, but I think people need to look at the bigger picture. A diving horse is going to be iconic. It's going to be a small piece of the development project that will bring family entertainment back to Atlantic City." Please join me in telling the owners that NO, we do NOT want to see their "iconic" act. The Steel Pier website is here, which contains their phone number, address, Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also sign this petition, as well as boycott and not visit this summer should these plans go through.