Thursday, December 22, 2016

Playign blog catch-up: Our ten year wedding anniversay trip to Canada

I have neglected this blog for far too long and what better time to restart writing than now? Since my last blog post in May, lots of fun and exciting things have happened.

Let's recap starting with June 2016 shall we.....

Me and hubby celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary at the end of June by taking our first international airplane trip to Canada. I'm a big library nerd so of course I had to go get a Canadian library card.

Canada library collage

We also were able to meet the Canadian Olympic rowing team at the airport on our way back to the States.

While in Canada, we also ate at some delicious vegan restaurants such as Mo:LE and the hotel where we stayed at Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa in Sidney, British Columbia. If you're a books lover, definitely visit Sidney because they have a total 8 eight bookstores with walking distance of each other so there's a book for what type of thing you like to read. I'll post again soon to cover other exciting things such as my best friend having her first baby and me wining a local boot camp weight loss challenge. Thanks for reading!
Curry tofu scramble with pesto hash browns
Falafel burger with fries and ketchup

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2015 Vegan Oktoberfest

Me and hubby were lucky enough to attend the Vegan Oktoberfest in Los Angeles on October 3, 2015. It was a day filled with good vegan food, running my old friend Bad Ass Vegan and made some new vegan friends. Here are photos I took at the event.

Me in front of Vegan Oktoberfest sign

Vegan German sausage with cabbage, sauerkraut and stoneground mustard
Special Oktoberfest donut from Donut Friend

Coconut bacon and dark chocolate brownies from Charlie's Brownies

Vegan funnel cake topped with powered sugar and strawberries
Vegan mac and riblet grilled cheeze sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Truck

A tale of two buffaloes: buffalo tempeh from Clean South on the left (too spicy for me but great for hubby) and buffalo cauliflower from Sage Bistro on the right (perfectly cooked and ranch was awesome) 
Me and my friend Bad Ass Vegan
Me and new vegan friends Tunsia and her mom Betty
Fried chickn tempeh from Clean South

I've been featured by Black Vegans Rock website!

Hiya! I've decided to restart posting to my blog on a more regular basis and what better way to start than by sharing that I was recently chosen for a feature article on the website Black Vegans Rock! Below is the article I wrote for the website:

My name is Tamara (rhymes with camera) and I have been vegan since August 2009. Being born and raised in the Huntsville, Alabama, I grew up on a diet of fried chicken, hamburgers and other unhealthy animal based foods. When I started dating my boyfriend in 1998, although he was vegetarian his entire life, I still ate chicken because I felt it would help me lose weight. At the time, I was at my heaviest weight of 298lbs. In early 2007, I transitioned to a healthier lifestyle which included changing my hair from permed to Sisterlocks and looking for a way to eat healthier and lose weight.

On August 28, 2009, I read Diet for a New America, and after this, I immediately became vegan. As I read the book, I thought about how my food choices impact animals and realized that by eating animals, I was ingesting their pain and suffering and I didn’t want that in my body so I cut it out completely. Although my boyfriend was against it...over time my (now) husband has embraced the vegan lifestyle as well. He enjoys experimenting with tofu & seitan to create yummy foods that I post on my Instagram account. I love being vegan and breaking the stereotypes that vegans only eat salads and berries. 

An unconventional way I do vegan outreach is through my job as a librarian. As a librarian, one of my jobs is to purchase library materials for seven library locations and I make sure to purchase books and DVDs promoting vegan and plant based lifestyles. By putting this material in the library, I can plant seeds which can help people become the healthiest best versions of themselves.

My family in Alabama has embraced my vegan lifestyle and I was surprised a few Thanksgivings ago when my mom surprised me with a vegan field roast and other vegan foods. Since I live in California, there is a wide variety of places to find vegan food from vegan soul food, to upscale vegan food. Although I live in rural Central California, I am still able to find vegan options.

Since becoming vegan, I feel like I have more energy and don’t get sick as often as others around me do. The biggest misconception I’ve seen is that veganism is expensive and not for black people but what I’ve found is that you can be a 99 cent store vegan, a Whole Foods vegan, or somewhere in between. I am so happy that I live in a time that social media provides a way to contact and meet other black vegans and spread the word about getting healthy through food. Veganism to me is about making healthier plant based choices to honor your body, mind and spirit!

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reading Goal for 2015: Complete Popsugar's 2015 Reading Challenge!

For 2015, I plan on accomplishing several goals such as traveling outside of the US, getting my weight down and increasing how many books I read in a year.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love to read. And I love challenges! PopSugar just published their 2015 Reading Challenge, which includes a list of types of books and not a list of specific books. I’ve decided to take it, and I’ll update the blog as I read with the book I read as well as the title. 

1. A book with more than 500 pages
2. A classic romance
4. A book published this year
5. A book with a number in the title - Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
6. A book written by someone under 30
7. A book with nonhuman characters
8. A funny book
9. A book by a female author
10. A mystery or thriller
11. A book with a one-word title
12. A book of short stories- Gross A Paramedics Story by Craig A. Mills and Justin J. Miller
13. A book set in a different country
14. A nonfiction book
15. A popular author’s first book
16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
17. A book a friend recommended
18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
19. A book based on a true story: Jubilee by Margaret Walker
20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
21. A book your mom loves
22. A book that scares you
23. A book more than 100 years old
24. A book based entirely on its cover
25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t: The Old Man & the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 
26. A memoir
27. A book you can finish in one day - Saga Volume 3 by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples
28. A book with antonyms in the title
29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
30. A book that came out the year you were born (1979) - Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
31. A book with bad reviews
32, 33, 34. A trilogy
35. A book from your childhood- Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
36. A book with a love triangle
37. A book set in the future
38. A book set in high school
39. A book with a color in the title
40. A book that made you cry - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
41. A book with magic
42. A graphic novel - Gunslinger Girl Omnibus by Yu Aida
43. A book by an author you’ve never read before
44. A book you own but have never read
45. A book that takes place in your hometown
46. A book that was originally written in a different language
47. A book set during Christmas
48. A book written by an author with your same initials
49. A play
50. A banned book
51. A book based on or turned into a TV show
52. A book you started but never finished

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scenes from my first ALA Annual

Life has been so hectic lately I'm glad I have a chance to catch up and write about all the fun I've been having at my new job. Although I've been working at my new job since April, I've been blessed to be able to represent my library on a professional level at the highest conference for librarians, the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas from June 28-July1. 

Although me and Den have been to Vegas more times that we can count, it was a totally difference experience going there for a conference. The first day at the conference was busy because I hard to register as well as figure out where all the sessions I wanted to attend were located.
Me at ALA Annual Conference

The registration line at ALA Annual

 In addition to the sessions I went to regarding librarianship, technology and other library related topics, I got to meet a lot of cool people I've admired over the years such \as Bill Barnes author of my favorite library comic Unshelved, Naomi House, creator of the I Need A Library Job (inalj) blog Erik LaSalle! I also met tons of other awesome librarians from around the country and made new professional contacts.

 Unshelved author Bill Barnes and me 
Me and INALJ creator Naomi House

Me and actor/author Erik Lasalle

Banned Book booth

Ice Yeti and me at Minus 5 Ice Bar
After the conference, I was super hungry so me and Den went in search of a new vegan restaurant to try. We decided to go to Veggie House in Chinatown right down the street from Ronald's Donuts and I'm so glad we decided to stop there to eat. Below is a vegan tuna sandwich I had when we went there.

Vegan tuna sandwich from Veggie House Restaurant
We also did something different this time when it came to breakfast and instead of getting donuts, we went to yet another new restaurant called Sunrise Coffee. We went there for breakfast twice and both times I was really impressed by their vegan food. Below is a pic of the tofurky 'wich which was filled with tofurky, tomato, daiya, avocado and lettuce. I was super yummy and we'll definitely go back there again in the future.
Tofurky wich from Sunrise Coffee
I really enjoyed my time at the ALA Annual Conference and super excited that I applied for and have been given the opportunity to attend another library related conference on behalf of the library at the 2014 ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) Conference in Tacoma, Washington from September 3-6!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vegas vegan donut face off!

I love vegan sweets and Las Vegas and to get my vegan donut fix, I usually go to Ronlad's Donuts. Recenlty I heard that there's a new Vegas vegan donut shop called O-Face Donuts and as such, I had to go see what the fuss was about.

Upon arriving at O-Face Donuts, I was a little annoyed by the parking meters and my lack of getting them to work correctly. After finding a free parking lot nearby, I went into the Donut Shop to see what vegan donuts they had to offer. Below is a photo of the vegan donuts available that day which were a total of seven. I decided to pick two donuts, one traditional and one original which are shown below.

Donuts at O-Face Donuts

O-Face chocolate glazed donut with sprinkles and mixed berry tart donut

Overall, I wasn't really impressed by O-Face's vegan donuts. The chocolate glazed donut wasn't as  chocolately  as I would have liked, it actually tasted kinds waxy to me. I let my hubby have a bite and he agreed with my assessment.

The mixed berry tart look lovely but again, the intensity of flavor was missing (at least to me). Although I was light and airy, I didn't really taste that much berry flavor.

Ronald's Cream filled donut and apple fritter
When it comes to Ronald's what make it the go to spot for vegan donuts is their large selection of vegan donuts, their free parking and friendly owners. I love that they open early in the morning and always have more than a dozen vegan donuts offered everyday. The only small annoyance is that they take cash only but this is a small price to pay for such yummy vegan goodness.

While it is great to have another place for Vegas vegans to get their donut fix (including Whole Foods),due to the increased selection, I declare Ronald's the winner of the Vegas vegan donut battle.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The tale of the Tofurkey Pockets aka vegan hot pockets

I recently had the pleasure of getting my hands on all three varieties of the Tofurky Pockets or as I like to call them, vegan hot pockets. In my pregan days (pre-vegan) days, I used to tear up Hot Pockets like it was nobody's business. When I wanted to lose weight, I started eating Lean Pockets instead and I think my biggest draw to both the Hot and Lean Pockets were that they were easy to make (microwave it for a minute or two and done) and they kept me satisfied until my next meal. Fast forward to 2014 and low and behold, Tofurky creates Tofurky Pockets and of course I had to try them to see how the vegan version measured up to my Hot/Lean Pocket memories.

Me and my hubby went to the new Viva La Vegan store in Santa Monica and I was super excited that the store carried all three of the Tofurky Pocket varieties. How excited was I? I was so excited that I had hubby take a pic of me holding my all three boxes (don't judge me ha ha ;-)

 The first Tofurky Pocket I tried was the pepperoni pizza which my favorite out of the three. It most reminded me of the original version because Tofurky really nailed the spiciness of the pepperoni and the consistency of the cheeze. It was spicy, melty and oh so tasty!

The next Tofurkey Pocket I tried was the broccoli cheddar and it was okay but not as good as the pepperoni pizza. I did like the cheesiness of the pocket but felt that the amount of broccoli was lacking.

The last of the Tofurky Pockets I tried was the BBQ Chick'N which was my least favorite and most disappointing. I liked the idea of BBQ Chick'N in a pocket crust but without vegan cheese, it's just blah. The BBQ sauce was really tasty but other than that, the BBQ Chick'N was uneventful.

Overall, I've really happy that Tofurky has provided yet another delicious way to enjoy meat free meal in a convenient way. I'll definitely be picking up some more pepperoni pizza Tofurky Pockets in the future.