It's almost my birthday again, in exactly 1 week today to be precise ;) I love my birthdays, and I especially love my birthday when it falls on a weekend and if it's a big milestone event, like my 30th last year. I had a great night with most of my favourite people helping me celebrate in vintage-style, it was a blast! This is me below wearing a 60s number in my favourite colour with a great hair accessory that I made (and yes, back in the days when I drank cocktails):
A lot of people have always complained about what to get me for my birthday, mostly non-vegan friends. Now, I don't think I'm that hard to buy for, I think it's quite obvious what I like and what I don't like...
Green Earth Group are running some competitions to help raise money for Brisbane's first all-vegan environmental festival, Green Earth Day which will take place once again at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens on Saturday 12th March.
There are three competitions: Art Competition, Short Film and Green with Envy Fashion Competition. For more information on details and how to get involved see HERE.
The wonderful Australia publication, Vegan Voice included an article about the competitions in its latest editon
Saturday started very early with my friend, Rico picking me up at 4:30am to head to the Brisbane airport where we parked his car for the weekend in an unusual spot... The flight was good with both of us trying to get some rest, unfortunately we didn't travel with Qantas so I didn't get my usual breakfast that I'd grown accustomed to the previous two weeks. A mutual friend, Sundara picked us up at the airport as he'd arrived earlier from Canberra. We were all tired from very early starts and just wanted to get some breakfast. We had a couple of options and proceeded to try to actually get from one side of the city to the other. Unfortunately not only was it raining and horrible weather - yet again! but there was some sort of Christmas parade that had closed off just about every street. It was very annoying and we were getting more hungry. I don't understand how hard it is to put "road closed" signs up and have the detours indicated...
Anyway, after about an hour and a half and with the help of Sundara's trusty GSP, we finally made it to Joy Discovery a great little place owned and run by followers of the spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, similar to the My Heart Garden restaurant here in Brisbane. Great, healthy meals served with friendly staff early in the morning. I had a lasagne and a selection of the salads AU$15.50 - I LOVE my photo below:
I got to Sydney a bit before 10am after sleeping most of the flight and getting another great breakfast from Qantas: Sanitarium Rice Bubbles this flight with soy milk, an apple and a Nanaberry from Rowie's Cakes in Marrickville, with Organic QUINOA flour! One of my closest friends, the lovely Jess from The Cruelty Free Shop picked me up. Once again the weather is cold and miserable when I'm interstate, though at least it's not raining, yet. I hung out with Jess for awhile at her place where I'd be staying for the long weekend and then let her get some work done so I headed into Rozelle which is just around the corner from her, and where some of my favourite second-hand shops are!
First though is lunch at Iku Wholefood one of my favourite places to go when I'm in Sydney, it's a vegan macrobiotic place that has many different stores and a great selection of healthy meals. I had the lasagne with greens. I normally get the eggplant version, but as they didn't have any ready to eat, I had the tomato, olive and baked vegetable version AU$10.50 yum
This video is shot beautifully, well edited and designed. Ella Todd is the Creator and Managing Director of Environment Films and she also directs and Produces Making the Connection. Making the Connection is an informal take on the many benefits to being vegan and eating a plant-based diet. They have worked hard to include as much information as possible but still delivering the facts in a relaxed way.
The end of the year is always the best time of year for me: World Vegan Day, vegan festivals, beautiful weather in Brisbane and my birthday in December! I know that even if everything has felt as thought it's been stalling for most of the year, after the end of October, it'll be great!
Incase you're not aware, World Vegan Day is celebrated on the 1st of November every year. Melbourne holds a great WVD festival to celebrate this fantastic day in Australia and here begins the story of my Melbourne adventures for the end of 2010:
I recently had the pleasure of hanging out with hot Aussie animal activist Leigh -Chantelle of Vivalavegan.net. This little lady is one of the most motivated and inspiring animal activists I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her whole life is devoted to spreading the word about veganism, organizing life-changing events, and interviewing others with the same message. She will literally interview anyone, anywhere, anytime. I figured the least I could do was return the favor.
Denis and I started our day with late brunch at Kate's Joint, a great vegetarian place that has been open for years in the East Village. We had a very friendly server who kept us entertained and played some great 80s music, plus a security guard for Shakira or Shakira's drummer, or something... he did a bit of name dropping ;) I had the multi-grain Pancakes with bananas and walnuts, that even though a bit burnt for my liking were yum US$6.95
Early this morning Mark and Imber took me to the Portland airport where I then flew to Dulles airport at Washington, DC to attend the AR Conference which is one of the main reasons for my jet-setting across the world. Almost 5 hours later I arrived, losing a few hours due to the time difference. At the Dulles airport they have these buses set up like trains to shuttle you from one area to the other, bizarre. I'm sure it wouldn't have taken that long to walk... I've decided Dulles is worse than LAX as I didn't think LAX was as big or as daunting as everyone makes out. I got picked up by the Super Shuttle another of my favourite modes of transport in the USA. The bus was full as we headed to the Alexandria Mark Hotel. It took what seemed like forever to get to the hotel, combine this with a lady on the bus telling me I wouldn't be able to walk to Washington city from the hotel and I realised that I was actually quite a distance away from, well, pretty much anything.
They are pretty intense photos, but really great photography!
"Slaughterhouses in Umbria, Italy. Neatly packaged meat in supermarkets is often completely detached in consumers’ minds from the process of its production" is his description about his photos. See the PHOTOS HERE
TUESDAY 6th July: Hanging out with Mandi in Portland
Before I left for my US adventures, my friend Mandy from Vegan Era suggested that when I was in Portland, I should contact another Mandi from Chic Vegan who had just moved to the West Coast. Mandi and I sent each other a few emails before I left as well as when I had arrived in Portland and today was the day we were to meet!
I caught the bus into Portland and while I was waiting for Mandi a local African American guy tried to work his magic on me with his smooth (!) talk, designer branding on EVERY piece of his outfit, plus of course his gold and diamond accessories. Obviously didn't work at all and when he asked me for some money (!) I told him he should sell his (insert ridiculously expensive designer brand) diamond watch... He was devastated that my watch ring had fake diamonds and when Mandi arrived we tried explaining to him about the ethical issues for most diamond cultivation, but he didn't care. There is quite a lot of homeless people in Portland, but this guy was definitely not one of them. Most unusual.
The footage from my award and letter of recognition from Supreme Master Ching Hai has finally aired on SMTV. It's really wonderful to have Master Ching Hai as a huge supporter of mine. The video shows footage of the old version of vivalavegan.net as well as Green Earth Festival footage, my bedroom, my recycled clothing line and more.
See HERE for the video - about 2/3rds of the way through the programme. Hope you like it ;)
Tonight we went to dinner at Hungry Tiger Too for one of Imber's workmate's goodbye dinner. This isn't a vegan place but has a huge seperate vegan menu and half of the space is a bar and the other is the restaurant.
I had organised the blue Super Shuttle to pick me up from my hotel in Beverly Hills and drive me to the airport for my flight at 13:25 to Portland, OR. I got picked up at 10:15 and we only had one couple to pick up en route. Waiting at the LA airport is not fun at all. There's no good food places, just the regular unhealthy, fat-ladded, rubbish that is everywhere nowadays. Why don't we have more choices than 4 similar "restaurants"? So I thought I would wander around the airport for awhile as I like to do that, but there wasn't much of an area to wander around in. So I ended up giving a few friends in the US a call, chatted to a lovely family from Eugene and uploaded and edited my photos from LA.
My flight left at 13:25 and I arrived in Portland, Oregon at 15:40 and the weather was beautiful! My shuttle bus driver had said that it was raining in Portland on the trip to the airport and I was very impressed that the weather had cleared for me! My good friend, Imber and her husband Mark picked me up and we headed to Blossoming Lotus for a late lunch/early dinner.
MONDAY: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, 30 Days and Real Food Daily
To begin my US adventures, Adele and I had a sleep over the night before and she took me to the airport the next day. Cam met us there to say goodbye. My flight left at 11:00 on Monday 21st June. The 13 hour flight wasn't that bad. The plane was completely full and I will be sending a recommendation email to the airport I flew with as they don't seem to know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian - why is this so hard?! I had a pasta meal, roll and cooked vegetables (right next to scrambled EGGS!) as my three meals on the way to LA. Not as good as Qantas vegan meals...
I arrived at LAX airport at 7:00 Monday 21st June so I had another Monday but will be losing two days when I return to Brisbane. The airport wasn't as big or as busy as I had heard it would be, customs etc wasn't a problem either, there was just a lot of waiting around. I was pretty exhausted as I'd slept a bit on the flight but not too much. I had watched a movie called A Single Man with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, actors I love and had flicked through a few programmes on the flight as well as listening to my own tunes on shuffle - love the shuffle button - is there anything better?! The weather in LA was not as summery as I had hoped, it was overcast, windy and I was still wearing my scarf and jumper.