It's a great time of year! Summer is almost here and it's under two months until my birthday!
The other amazing thing about this time of year is Vegan Festival time. Next weekend is the start of my East coast Vegan Festival tour and I hope to see many of you when I'm in your home town or when you've come to whatever town the vegan festival is in.
The biggest news on the festival calendar, is Canberra's first all-vegan festival,the new Living Green Festival taking place on Sunday 16 October.
In the afternoon, Peter dropped me off at Brittyn's place in Hillsboro, Oregon to end our mid west road trip. He headed back to Chicago, via Seattle, to return the rental car for me (one way rental was an extra US$1000!) which I really appreciated. Brittyn and I walked to the park and the library to get my bearings. I then had a shower and dinner consisting of pasta salad Brittyn said she'd made (I found out later her mother, Sydney had in fact made the meal!) and some roasted vegetables I'd bought at WholeFoods previously that day. Then I caught up on a bit of computer work and it was bed time.
Due to no one checking in luggage because no one was working until 4am, I was in for a lot of waiting around for my flight at LaGuardia airport in New York. However luckily I spoke to Holly for over an hour on the phone, my sister for a bit and a lady at the airport for awhile. She was a bit fragile but fine to talk to someone different for awhile, until she started pushing the word of the lord etc onto me. The phone saved me, thanks Louie! By the time 4 am came around I hadn't slept or done any work I had hoped I would catch up on. Then I caught a shuttle bus with another lady (who has a vegan daughter in Europe) to the actual area where we would board our flight to Chicago. The 6am flight couldn't come soon enough and I slept the whole flight to Chicago.
I arrived at O'Hare airport about 7:30am, got my bag and waited for the shuttle bus to take me to my rental car place, that was closer to Midway airport than to where I'd flown into. I had already booked my ticket to Chicago by the time Peter and I realised that it was better timing for him to fly from Seattle to Milwaulkee (instead of to Chicago) and the car rental from Milwaulkee was more expensive than from Chicago. So, I had to use all of my adventurous spirit and drive by myself in another country on the wrong side of the road from Chicago, Illinois to pick up Peter in Milwaukee in the next state North, Wisconsin. I drive interstate all the time when back in Brisbane, so I was sure I'd be fine. I made up a Jimmy Eat World MP3 mix CD, I knew the car was an automatic and I would just take my time as I wasn't in a rush.
So I picked up the Aveo, Chevrolet on South Archer Avenue and left around 10:30am. I merged onto the I55 then the I90 and I94 to Wisconsin. I had a few beeps from a few cars, normally something I would ignore, but as I had the windows down with the wind caressing my hair, I was able to ask one of the truck drivers why he was beeping me. He said it was because I was going to the right a bit over the line. Noted. Did my best to fix this. Finally picked up Peter (I made it!) at around 12:30pm at the General Mitchell airport and he took over the driving.
We drove to Madison where there's a WholeFoods, Peter knows where every WholeFoods is supposedly. We ate our lunch in a park nearby before we drove to the beautiful Indian Lake park. Here's the view:
I arrived in New York from Los Angeles at 6pm. I caught the air train from JFK airport to the subway where my good friend Ethan met me. Ethan lives in Brooklyn so we trained it there, dropped off my luggage and then caught the train to have dinner at Blossom with Ethan's girlfriend, Daphne. Our waiter for the night was friend Joshua's (from The Discerning Brute) partner James who is a dancer and a lovely guy. I had the raw Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls US$11 coconut noodles, jicama, carrot, red and yellow pepper, scallion, avocado, almond ginger dipping sauce:
After my AR Conference adventures, Peter (from Voice of the Voiceless) and I left the hotel, and went to Native Foods for lunch. Peter had the Chili Cheese Fries: seasoned potato fries smothered in homemade Native Chili, topped with Native Cheese and diced red onions. US$ 5.95. Here's a photo of Peter with the fries as he wanted to "be in my blog" Cutest.
Peter kept to his word by making sure we arrived at the AR Conference at the Westin LAX Hotel by 4pm. I caught up with my roomies: Brittyn from Portland and Susana from Seattle who went downstairs to register while Peter, Sheila and I showered. One of the things I was excited about the conference for was to finally meet Marisa Miller Wolfson whose new documentary, Vegucated screened at 5pm. The documentary is a fun, happily contagious (like Marissa) adventure about three New Yorkers who go vegan for six weeks and the effects this change has on their lives. Marissa said in the opening that the beginning to end of the film were all done with low budget, this is noticeable in some parts, but overall the film is great and it will be launched all over the country soon.
I finally caught up with Denis and his mum, Anne who were also in the audience and spent a bit of time with the two of them before they had to leave and I had to eat. For dinner Sarah from Xs to Os Bakery organised takeaway from Veggie Grill where I had the Bali Bliss US$6.75: Indonesian styled tempeh, sautéed and grilled with lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle ranch on a bed of kale:
I had dinner with Sarah, her partner Linwood from Motive Clothing Company and good friend Jared near the Motive table. I look forward to getting to know Sarah and Lin better. I already miss hanging out with Peter and Sheila.
After hanging out at Button Makers, Peter picked me up to start our road trip adventure South from Seattle to LA. We then picked up a mutual friend of ours, Sheila, who I'd met last year at the Washington DC AR Conference at Greenlake. Sheila had been staying with her Aunt and Uncle for a few nights and her Aunt made the best hummus that we ate with kale. We travelled along the I5 and stopped at Whole Foods in Portland to get some snacks for the trip and dinner including Wild Wood tofu, Dave's Killer Bread and banana with Earth Balance margarine - my favourite.
Here's a photo of the grass where Sheila and I did some yoga when we had a break stop:
The latest T.O.F.U. magazine is a pay-what-you-desire downloadable full-colour vegan magazine. I have an article Promoting Veganism in the latest issue, Spring 2011 (see the pic below) The creators, Ryan & Kira takes some time out to answer some of my questions.
Rex picked me up at the Seattle/Tacoma airport after 7pm and we headed to his and Rebecca's place in Des Moines where their vegan friends were waiting for us for Games Night to begin. Every other Monday a Games night is organised with various vegans in the Seattle community taking place at various houses. Tonight we played Shadows over Camelot that I won't even attempt to explain the rules for, but it ended up being a lot easier to play than it first seemed. We all ate pizzas that Rebecca had bought and heated in the oven along with some vegetables and dips. Then we played Scattergories which was a lot easier than Shadows over Camelot! The last time I stayed in Seattle I also stayed with Rex & Rebecca and it was probably my favourite place to be, probably a lot to do with the company!
Today is the first day of my US adventures for 2011! This time I'm going for 8 weeks and I can't wait. First stop is a 13 hour flight to LA. I arrived at the airport quite early as my Dad was also flying to work this morning, so Mum dropped him off at the domestic terminal and then me at the International terminal. As I was more than 3 hours early for my flight I couldn't check in until three hours before the flight leaving so I caught up on computer work and emails. Had a Subway Vegie Delight while waiting, not the most exciting food to start my journey, but okay.
The flight left Brisbane at 10:25am and was meant to be an early arrival at LAX which ended up not happening. I pretty much fell asleep as soon as I sat in my chair, which was great as we had to wait quite awhile for people to board. I'm glad that I can fall asleep easily when flying otherwise it would be quite tedious. Luckily my ankle seems to be healed since twisting/spraining it on Saturday jumping off of the stage at Jodi's party in Byron Bay.
My family and some friends headed to new vegetarian restaurant, Pink Lily in Springwood on Monday night 4 July to celebrate my second last dinner in Brisbane for awhile. Teresa the owner and chef opened the restaurant especially for us, the official opening is July 15. Pink Lily is located in Brisbane's Southside and is part of the Springwood Towers apartment block.
NOTE: Pink Lily opened for business on Monday 25th July 2011. Please phone 07 3387 7090 for bookings and reservations or
I have a close friend, Jodi Ruckley, who is an inspiring lass. She's been a vegan animal activist for years and spends her time in Australia and France spreading the vegan message however she can. Jodi has recently started a not for profit group Our Place on Earth and aims to open an animal sanctuary around Northern New South Wales as soon as she can. One of the ways Jodi has been spreading the vegan message the past few months is via a 500km walk (which is just over 310 miles) from Australia's capital, Canberra, to end up at Byron Bay Saturday 2 July.
I received an email earlier this year, and finally got to met a lovely lass, Lara Drew, who came to Brisbane from her hometown of Canberra to attend my Green Earth Day festival. Lara recently graduated with a Bachelor of Community Education and for her final year project she had the opportunity to research an issue in the community. This is Lara's story she's compiled (and somewhat of a guest blog!) on the plight of factory farmed turkeys in Australia.