It's only fitting that The Vegan Crazy Cat Lady be a cat person right?! I love cats. All cats. I love all animals, which goes with the vegan territory, but cats are a favorite of mine. I'm like 99% certain in a past life I was a spoiled house cat. And Tabitha, the pretty Life face that you see as my logo, and I are pretty much the same person. Basically, cats are life.
Instagram is my favorite social media outlet for a few reasons: 1) I love pictures and the fact that it's all pictures is the best! And 2) I discover so many different companies and people that I otherwise wouldn't have be able to learn about. One of those companies being Jetoy.
About 2 years ago, they came up on like the suggest people to follow after I followed another company. I am THRILLED I did. Jetoy is all about that cat life. Originally from South Korea created by artist Se-ah Kim in 2000, they just opened up a USA site around the time I started following them a few years back, I believe. Their products also are found in several shops across the US, like the very popular Japan LA in California!
Every design they have is kawaii big eyed cats called Choo Choo Cat, the inspiration being drawn from the founder's Turkish Angora cat, Choo Choo. If you're about that kawaii life and about that cat life, you NEED to check out Jetoy.
I have a bit of a Jetoy collection that I wanted to share with you guys, because clearly I'm obsessed!
First up, this Mimi Pouch.
This 6x7.5 inch pouch is perfect for storing your favorite things. The inside is padded a bit, so if you're traveling and you have anything fragile inside, there's that added layer of protection. I have my hair ties and bobby pins in mine. It's the only way I can keep track of them lol. Be real, how many hair ties and bobby pins have you lost in your life?! This is perfect for that, and for anything you can think of! It's got a gold Jetoy cat zipper pull, and several different styles to choose from. I got Alice. It's the PERFECT style for this overgrown Disney addict! These are $26 each.
Next up, this Choo Choo Bag charm.
I always have to add some flair to my bag. This bag charm is literally perfect. You can just hang it for decor, or there's a zipper to store something small, like change, cash, or keys inside. The tail is the zipper pull and it's adorable. There's several different styles but I chose this Coco one since that kitty's face reminds me so much of my Ollie's face. These are $16 a piece.
Next, my weekly planner.
I literally can't say enough good things about this planner. I'm a planner girl, and I'm super particular on my planners since I use I carry it with me and use it every day. This one has 12 months worth of planner sheets, which you can write in the dates yourself so it's customizable. Plus, plenty of space for notes, a spot for your pen, and fully colored pages that are almost too pretty to use. There's 144 pages in total! There's two designs currently, and the one I have isn't available. But, you can't go wrong with this planner and I promise you'll love it! $28 each.
Next up, the Choo Choo cat shirt!
I was so thrilled when I saw them releasing this shirt! It's poly spandex and I was super concerned about it, but it's softer than I anticipated. Plus, that material allows for a more vibrant long lasting design on the front. It's a little bigger than I had anticipated, even the small that I got, but I don't mind it. This retails for $39.50 and it's absolutely worth it.
Next up, this adorable wristlet.
This is the part where I talk about how fantastic Jetoy's customer service is. I saw this wristlet on their Korean site, and I was literally obsessed the minute I saw it. I reached out to them, and they were able to specially order it for me. I was so impressed by that, and it really showed me how important customer satisfaction is to them. It was $25, and it's the only wristlet I use now!
The last thing I wanna talk about is honestly probably my favorite and it's so simple, the Winking Card Case.
I use cards for everything, and I literally never have cash on me. I lost $40 once at the mall when I was a teenager and ever since then I only keep cash with me if I need it. This card case actually winks when you move it a certain way, which I LOVE. And, it's got 14 pages so you can fit 28 cards in total. It's got an elastic strap it hold it all together. It's compact so you can fit it in pretty much any bag you carry. There's so many cute patterns to choose from too! Again, I chose Alice, because Disney! $9 each and worth every penny!
I've also had some stickers in the past, which I've used, and I had a pen which ran out of ink that I definitely need to replace. I've also got post cards that I wanna frame and hang up around my apartment.
Not only is everything super kawaii, shipping is $2.99-$3.99 or free over $40, which is beyond reasonable. Everything comes in plastic boxes and is ready for gift giving. And, I haven't even told you the best part yet! All of their products are vegan leather! Woo hoo! This Vegan Crazy Cat Lady couldn't be happier!
Follow both of them on Instagram and check out their adorable products. I guarantee you'll be adding at least one Jetoy product to your Christmas list this year!
Is there anything that can't be made better with pumpkin spice? Think about it. Coffee? PSL. Waffles? PSW. Cake? PSC. Pumpkin spice everything. Seriously. When I saw this pumpkin spice hand lotion by Desert Essence, I knew instantly that I had to have it.
This time of year, my hands get ridiculously dry. Between all of the washing, hand sanitizing, and the cold weather, they take a beating. They also get really sensitive too, and often times lotions can burn the small cuts and cracks they get. Even the ones meant for the most sensitive of skins can burn. So, I was BEYOND excited to try it, but also nervous too!
To my surprise, this stuff doesn't burn my hands a bit. In fact, it's one of my favorite hand lotions I've used to date. It really does make my hands soft and absorbs quickly. I can feel the barrier it leaves on my hands afterwards so they're protected, but there isn't any greasy residue what so ever. This barrier lasts until I wash my hands. And when I do wash them, I can feel the barrier washing off my skin, if that makes any sense. So, you definitely have to reapply every time you wash your hands.
Here's what Desert Essence has to say about it:
"A high concentration of organic oils and extracts provide intense moisture to the skin and aid in the repair process. Organic Jojoba Oil, similar in structure to our skin’s oils, deeply penetrates the skin, leaving it soft and supple. Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, with high levels of Vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus zinc, helps combat daily environmental stress on the hands. A proprietary blend of Organic Pumpkin Seed and Licorice Leaf Extracts helps to even skin tone and fade the appearance of age spots on the hands."
I love all the vitamins in this lotion! We all know Jojoba Oil is good for your skin, but Pumpkin Seed Oil is also amazing for your skin. It helps keep your skin looking younger and retain moisture. These ingredients all come together to keep your skin looking and feeling great.
My only disappointment I've gotta say is that this lotion smells nothing like Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin or Spice in general. I am truly disappointed in that, since I love all things Pumpkin related. My coworkers love this lotion, and they use my tube I keep at work, but they even agree it smells nothing like it should. My one coworker said it smells like Fruitty Pebbles. It's a hard smell to explain honestly. It doesn't necessary smell bag, just not what I had expected. This is my first time ever trying it, but it sounds like they changed the scent a few years ago to this and a lot of people were up in arms over it, claiming the only scent was better, so that's probably true. Other than that, I have no complaints.
If you can get passed your disappointment in the lack of Pumpkin Spice scent, I think you'll love this lotion. They have several other fragrances you can try, if this one doesn't do it for you. The lotion itself is great! I ordered mine from Vitacost and it was $5.19 a tube whereas the retail is $8.99, which is still a fair price in my personal opinion. Check them out!
The most wonderful season is upon us- AUTUMN! 🍃🎃🍂🍁 On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, my excitement for about is about 127. Autumn brings my favorite things: Halloween, football, beautiful colors, Nature at its peak, good TV shows, my anniversary, and of course, perfect weather. When that first chilly day hits, my heart is happy. However, my skin doesn't get as happy. In fact, it gets down right mad. Cold weather and eczema aren't friends, and dry skin is a real problem people often face as it gets cooler. The key to limiting the negative effects? Start early! Keeping your skin moisturized year round, but giving it a little TLC towards the end of summer is the perfect way to combat itchy winter skin. It all starts in the shower. Using a moisturizing body wash will make all the difference, like this one.
This new Coconut Milk body wash by Method is fantastic. It smells SO good. It's not a beach coconut smell, which considering it's November, I really like. It really does smell like authentic coconut milk, none of that artificial coconut fragrance you often smell in most things. It leaves your skin feeling clean and lightly scented. The creamy texture creates a really nice and surprising lather that doesn't leave your skin tight or dried out.
The aloe really helps to not only moisturize but to soothe your skin as well. For this reason, I think it would be an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin! I have super sensitive skin and have had no issues with it! My husband even used it since he ran out of his, and he even said how moisturizing it was. That's big coming from a man who's pretty much obvious things like that!
I've been using this since last September, when it was still considerably warm, so I could keep the moisture in my skin without allowing it to dry out then replenish it. I think this, in combination with regular exfoliation, has really kept my body soft with minimal dryness. And for only $4.99 for an 18 oz bottle, you can keep your skin soft year round! I definitely recommend it!
After my last negative experience at Zoe's Kitchen, I was really tempted to not even go to any non-vegan place again. But I remember the animals, and how they're the most important part. Remember that supply and demand thing from the other post? More demand for vegan options means more vegan options and less animals. So, I decided to give it another shot.
My husband got some great news at work, and we decided to go to dinner to celebrate! We called up my mom and invited her too. I told Kevin to pick since it was all about him and his exciting news! He settled on Bertucci's.
On their menu, literally nothing is vegan. Often times, when we go out to eat, I just don't eat. But this time around, I was gonna try and see what they could do to accommodate me. It's hard to find places we can both eat, and if we can add Bertucci's to that list, even better. We had an EXCELLENT waitress whom we all loved. She was so patient with all of my questions, and I had a ton.
I find that saying I'm allergic to food means they take more seriously making sure they avoid what I can't eat. I hate lying, I really do, but allergies pack a bigger punch than vegan. I had an idea of what I wanted after looking over the menu, and she went above and beyond making sure everything was vegan.
I wish I had taken photos, but I did not. But I wanted to share with you guys what I ate and learned from the experience so you have that knowledge, and next time you're out and someone suggests Bertucci's you can be like, I'm in!
The olive oil dip for their rolls contains cheese, so stay away from that. The basic Insalata can be made vegan. It originally contains: mixed lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, red onions, and Romano cheese. Nothing is premade, so they put the salad together dry, and you can avoid whatever you don't want. I got mine without the cheese obviously, and without the onions because I hate them, and added extra tomatoes and black olives, because I love them both. Then, I got olive oil and vinegar for my dressing. It wasn't anything to write home about, but it was still good!
I also ordered two sides as well. The first is Roasted Tuscan Vegetables. The original ingredients are: zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, and broccoli in olive oil with rosemary and crushed garlic. All of these are cooked in a large ramekin type dish in their brick oven. So, you can rest assure it's not cooked directly on a grill where they just had chicken. The second is the Roasted Red Potatoes. Turns out, these are originally cooked in butter, so I asked the waitress to add the potatoes to the ramekin of veggies, that way I know it's all being cooked in the same dish, not touching anything else.
Here's what's weird: apparently, all of Bertucci's olive oil they cook with, except for the dressing (like the olive oil and vinegar I had for my salad dressing), they include cheese. This also included my veggies. My waitress was knowledgeable enough to verify this before having my meal cooked, so she came out and told me that she told them to just roast the veggies dry, with no oil, and left me the oil and vinegar from my salad to add some of that if I wanted to.
Of course, I made my mom try some before I ate it to verify it was in fact oil free. Then, I picked through it to make sure I didn't see anything weird. She even put the ramekin it was cooked in in a plate, that way I knew where it came from and it didn't go anywhere else, which I greatly appreciated.
Everything was delicious! That brick oven really adds a great flavor to the veggies. I was pleasantly surprised by how much this waitress went through for me. And now I know for next time how to order what I want to ensure it's vegan.
In typical Lyle fashion, we basically became best friends with the waitress and she told us all about her and her adorable daughter and I told her to look into banking. Us Lyle's can't help but be friendly!
Also, I feel it's worth mentioning, their minestrone soup contains chicken broth. I would've asked her more questions about other products but I figured the 500 questions I asked her already was enough for the night. However, next time, I'm going to inquire about their pomedoro sauce, which is their tomato sauce. Since they have eggplant, I could get the eggplant, which is fire roasted on a separate plate just like the veggies, with the pomedoro and no cheese. One step at a time though.
If you head to Bertucci's, make sure you're very specific about ordering. If you have a good waitress that will make it easier, but either way, be vigorous! Most places are willing to work with you, but you have to do your part too.
You know when you do interviews and stuff like that, they always ask you that question that everyone hates: what's your biggest weakness? And like no matter what you say, it never sounds good? So you're always like "Oh you know I just work a little too hard." Cliched right? Have you ever actually thought about that question? I have: I'm too forgiving. I forgive everyone for everything and give them 2nd, 3rd, 58th, 127th times. Sometimes in my head I'll even rationalize how it's my fault I got hurt. Oh, I'm just sensitive. My feelings get hurt easy. I was just overreacting. Isn't that awful?! BUT, there is one area in my life I'm not forgiving at all, and that's food places. I hold legitimate grudges with food place. One screw up and I'll never go there again. I'm not just talking about they forgot my sauce. I'm talking about bigger issues: like putting chicken in my vegan soup. Which leads me to the point of this post: Zoe's Kitchen.
I hate eating at non-vegan places because I get too anxious; however, if there's no demand for vegan food places won't serve it, which means more meat and dairy and less animals helped. I was excited when my mom shared with me a place she went to called Zoe's Kitchen. They serve meat, but have vegetarian and vegan options as well. I thought it was really great they accommodated all different lifestyles.
Friday was Veteran's Day and I was off from work. My Goddaughter was off from school and my mom took off to babysit her, so we spent the day together since we were all off! The first thing we did was grab lunch before we went to the movies to see Trolls. I was starving, and couldn't wait to eat. We decided to go to Zoe's Kitchen and I was excited to try them. As per usual, I politely asked a million questions, even about items they say are vegan, just to be thorough. Remember, my anxiety is super high at this point so I need to be very sure what I'm ordering, despite being labeled vegan, is in fact vegan. I've had people confuse vegan and gluten free before, so I'm not super trusting.
I ordered some hummus for us to share, and they boy at the counter recommended the Mediterranean Lentil Soup, which I was eyeing up from the gate. I love lentils!
They were very busy and the food was taking awhile but my soup came out first and I was excited. So, I grab a spoon, and like I do with anything I don't cook myself, I examine it before I eat it. This is not just my fear of there being some non-vegan ingredient, but also a fear of it being dirty or contaminated. OCD, ya know?
As I stir my soup and I'm looking at it, I see what looks like a piece of shredded chicken, and then I see another, and another. It took me a minute to register: there's shredded chicken in my vegan soup. I was FURIOUS! Grateful that I didn't eat any, but furious about the situation.
Immediately, I bring the soup back up, and show the young man the chicken in my soup. I told him I didn't want anything else, I just wanted my money back. He has no clue how to react, doesn't say anything, and brings it to is manager who is only a foot away, and says there's chicken in the soup that shouldn't be. The manager, who also says nothing to me, grabs another girl and tells her to go back and figure out why there's chicken in the soup, that's an issue and needs to be fixed. All the while she's doing something on the computer, which as is turns out was refunding me the entire bill (I paid for all of our lunches.) I didn't ask for that, but, I was grateful she did that. I didn't know that until she handed me the receipt and apologized. I feel like someone could've been a little more apologetic about the situation, or spoken to me more and maybe tried to offer an explanation, but I appreciated the refund.
No one even said anything about the other food we ordered, and since my mom and Goddaughter still hadn't eaten, I thought maybe the rest of the food would come out. About 20 minutes later, they bring out the food, which my mom reluctantly ate and was disappointed in. I was still starving but refused to even eat the hummus out of spite since I was so mad.
As soon as we got in the car, I got directly on their website to make a complaint. My complaint was not nice. I said, in short, that I was extremely disappointed in their service, and if this is the kind of quality they put out I will make sure to inform everyone I know to stay far far away. Promptly I received a response back:
I will not be giving them another try, hence my food grudge. And I really hate to talk badly about a place that have vegan and vegetarian options, but that carelessness is unacceptable. I think they were using the same ladle for all of the soups, and that's how chicken got in the soup. It wasn't a lot of chicken that I saw, so I think it was cross contamination. But that's not okay! Whether you're vegetarian or vegan for ethical, health, or allergy reasons, accidentally serving someone something they don't eat isn't okay, especially if it's due to carelessness. They need to take precautions to avoid these kinds of situations. It was shortly after they opened that we went, so I'm hoping I prevented this situation from happening to any other vegan that day, and from here on out.
I'm not telling you to never go to Zoe's Kitchen. I understand they're franchised and not all are the same. Some are better than others I assume, like most franchise restaraunts are. I only wanted to share my experience and be honest about it, because I feel that's the right thing to do.
If you don't know by now, I love Halloween. Halloween is life. It's not just an October thing. For me, everyday is Halloween. You can visit my apartment in February, June, any month of the year, and it's full of Halloween decor. I'm about that spooky life!
Because of my love for all things spooky, friends and acquaintances often tag me in spooky things. A friend of mine tagged me in a post on Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop on Instagram. It was a bath bomb that was designed just like Sam's lollipop from Trick 'r Treat! In case you're not familiar, Trick 'r Treat is a horror anthology, and one of my four favorite movies, that's about a creature named Sam who's the enforcer of Halloween traditions, and those who don't follow them, well.. they have to suffer the consequences. In the movie, he uses a lollipop to murder one of his victims, which was the inspiration for the bath bomb. I was in love as soon as I saw it.
As per usual, I assumed it wasn't vegan and cruelty free so I couldn't use it. WRONG! Everything is vegan, cruelty free, and made by an esthetician in Salem! My spooky little heart cheered! So, I went on her website and checked out all she had to offer, and wanted basically everything lol.
I ordered four items: the Sam lollipop bath bomb, the matching Sam lollipop bath melt, "Help Me With The Eyes" body scrub (also inspired by a scene from the movie), and "Simply Meant to Be" body wash (inspired by another of my four favorite movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas). Today, I wanna review the two items I've used so far.
First up, "Help Me With The Eyes" body scrub.
Design and Packaging: Love that the container is plastic so I'm not gonna drop it and shatter it while I'm barefoot and glasses-less in the shower! I like the picture on the front, but I would've loved to have had a pumpkin or the scene from the movie. I assume it's because of licensing she didn't, but the label is still perfect! I love the font too!
Scent: I love love the scent! I definitely get the pumpkin and vanilla right off the bat, as ground pumpkin seeds and pumpkin butter are two of the first ingredients. I LOVE pumpkin, so it's a win for me! But, it's got a gingerbread spice scent to it as well, which was a pleasant surprise. It kind of reminds me of Gingersnap cookie. The scent is subtle, so you won't smell like a pumpkin all day. Personally, for me, I wish it lasted longer since I love it so much. It's actually a plus side that it doesn't last because you know there's no artificial fragrances in there, which are no-nos for sensitive skin like mine.
Texture: I feel like the texture of this scrub is perfect. It's not too oily that you and your shower feel like you just stepped out of an oil slick. And it's not too dry that it just exfoliates and doesn't add any moisture to your skin. It reminds me of dough a little bit. It's the perfect consistency to have a handful in one hand while exfoliating with the other without it running through your fingers or anything like that.
Results: I was pleasantly surprised by this! It left my skin soft without any residue and it got a good amount of the dry skin off and revealed the fresh pretty skin underneath! For $13.50, you can't beat the results!
Now let's talk about "Simply Meant To Be" body wash.
Design and Packaging: Same as the body scrub. Cute, love that it's plastic and can't break it, but wish Jack and Sally was on there!
Scent: It's lovely! It's pumpkin spice, but also sweet kind of like candy. It's actually a great scent for Halloween, and fall in general. It can even work for Christmas! I wish it would last on my skin after using it.
Texture: It's a bit runny, so you can't like just your hands to use it. It's best with a wash cloth or loofah. It does create a nice amount of bubbles though, and who doesn't love bubbles?!
Results: It's a nice wash, with a great scent! It's not drying but it's also not really moisturizing. $10 isn't bad for a limited edition body wash!
When it comes to Ghoulish Delights Bath, I'm sold! Check out her Instagram, and give her a follow! The shop is closed until mid November for restocked, and shipping takes approximately 4 weeks due to high volumes. Which is all the more reason to follow her so you don't miss out on the releases and you can get some Christmas shopping done for you (I'm not judging) and everyone else!
🎃🎶 Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange. Come with us and you will see, this our town of Halloween! 🎶🎃
I'm a spooky girl to the core. Anytime I can find spooky things that are both cruelty free and vegan, I'm sold. One of my four favorite movies of all time is The Nightmare Before Christmas. My dear friend Sam tagged me in a Tooth and Nail Cosmetics post on Instagram about their Nightmare Before Christmas highlighters. I loved them, but instantly I just assumed I couldn't use them. To my surprise, they're a cruelty free and vegan company! Instantly I followed them, and saw they were releasing a TNBC themed eyeshadow palette too! I was SOLD! My spooky little heart was BEYOND excited!
As soon as they got released, I ordered them instantly. I set an alarm and everything so I didn't miss out! I was ready!
The highlighter I chose was Zero, which is a white highlighter with orange reflect.
I tried to get a good photo of it but it wasn't working out too well. This one I thought was the most natural looking out of the three options, and I just kind of fell in love with it from the photos. Even though it's white, it doesn't wash you out. The orange isn't super orange, and it actually adds a subtle color to my cheeks which I feel looks surprisingly natural. A little goes a long way! I feel it lasts awhile too! The spider web pattern imprinted on it just adds extra flair. And the cute Zero sticker on the front tops it all off. $13 well spent!
Now let's talk about the eye shadow palette. On a scale of 1-10, I go with 15.
Here's the colors:
This is the description of the colors, taken directly from their website. They explained them best!
Pumpkin King- a vibrant orange satin shimmer
What's This?- brown green duochrome foil
Deadly Nightshade- a deepened purple lustre
Oogie Boogie- a bold lime green with hints of red shimmer
Santy Claws- a silvery base packed with red duochrome"
I love the colors! Absolutely love them! All of them! The shimmer is so bright and vibrant, and they really make your eyes pop! They're highly pigmented and they last awhile. These also have the cute spider web imprints, and I just can't get enough them! $34 well spent!
My final thoughts: I'm in love. They're two of my favorite purchases of the year. I got them just in time for our Salem trip too! Follow them on Instagram and check out their products! You will not be disappointed!
Before my husband and I traveled up to Salem, I wanted to be prepared with, well, everything. I'm a Virgo with anxiety, after all! But, in particular, prepared to get my grub on. I imagine there's so many sea food places since it's up the coast, and finding vegan food would be a difficult task. So, I Googled and mapped out different locations and the distance from our hotels.
The first thing we did after we got settled was swing by the nearest Whole Foods, which was about 10-15 minutes from the hotel, so I could grab some essentials. I bought pumpkin hand soap, since our hotel only had bar soap. Plus some snacks, and I swung by their salad bar to get a huge salad. We had just drive 6 hours and I was HANGRY. Hangry, a mix between hungry and angry, is a real thing. I'm living proof of that, just ask my husband!
I got this amazing salad which was: spring mix, shredded carrots, shredded beets, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed bell peppers, cucumbers, grilled zucchini, grilled squash with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on top drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I also got a scoop of vegan mashed sweet potatoes on the side. I loved this salad so much I actually went back and got another one a day later. It was so good!
Since I was on vacation, I decided to live a little and grabbed some Zevia Ginger Root Beer, vegan blueberry muffins, bananas, strawberries and kiwis, Kashi Fire Roasted Veggie crackers, some delicious packaged vegan brownie, and a few other essentials.
I don't drink soda. When I used to though, I loved ginger ale and root beer so this was the best of both worlds. This is a clear soda so there's no artificial colors. And, it's sugar free since it's sweetened with Stevia and monk fruit. The flavors are authentic as well. Stevia isn't my favorite, since I feel it leaves a weird aftertaste, but overall I liked the soda. It's not something I'll be drinking every day, but it's nice to have a little flavor with lunch or dinner every now and again! They weren't cheap, but hey, when in Salem right?!
My favorite of my snacks though was this packaged brownie. Holy cannoli. It's Greyson's Bakery Vegan Fudge Brownie. It was SO GOOD! It was super moist and rich, decadent, super chocolately, and overall amazing. I devoured it. And went back and bought more my second trip to Whole Foods. They were 2 for $3, and I was like well I don't mind if I do!
Our hotel had continental breakfast, which didn't do much good to me other than the fruit, but it saved us money on my husband eating out every morning so that worked. Bonus was that they had free coffee and tea 24/7! They had both chamomile and sleepy time tea, and I had several cups each day.
When we got to Salem, it was awe inspiring. But, I'm gonna save of those spooky details for another post.
For $20 parking each time, we weren't leaving and coming back so I could eat. I knew I had to find something in Salem to eat. One of the places on my list was Life Alive. They're vegetarian but 90% of their menu is vegan or can be made vegan. I have a simple palette, and the menu looked intense. All sorts of stuff I had no faith in liking. They had hummus and then also PB&J wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and they were up my alley. But I was too hungry for that. I needed food, like real food. I decided to be daring and ordered The Alchemist.
I was reluctant but most of the ingredients I liked separately, so I figured it was worth a shot to try them together. The only thing I was super unsure of was the Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce, so I got that on the side. It was sweet corn, shredded carrots, sprouted legumes, kale, sun sprouts, and sesame seeds over a bed of quinoa. I also got a side of squash and Granny Smith Apple. Can I just tell you it was BEYOND delicious?! I even liked the sauce so much I used the whole side of it. And I was full literally the rest of the day. I ate at like 2pm and wasn't hungry until breakfast the next morning. I actually went there again the next day and got the same thing because I liked it so much! You can get full bowls, half size bowls, or in a wrap. I went with a full bowl one day and a half the next day. Even the half was incredibly filling. Currently they're in Massachusetts only but my hope is that they expand to like, right next door to my apartment.
Also in the spooky town of Salem is a place called Jodi Bee Bakes, which is an all vegetarian cafe with many vegan options. I got myself an Apple Cinnamon cupcake one day that had real Granny Smith Apple chunks inside of it, and was delicious! Then, I stopped there one morning for breakfast and got a vegan Cinnamon Raisin bagel with vegan butter and a cup of vegan hot chocolate which was amazing! I got the small afraid I wouldn't finish it but really I needed a large because it was so good. It was super cold there too, it rained a lot and was really windy, and that hot bagel and hot chocolate totally warmed me up!
The last place I ate was a place called True Bistro in Somerville MA. It's an upscale vegan restaurant, very similar to Vedge in Philly. The funny thing was our waiter was asking us where we're from and we said outside the Philly area and he's like "Oh you guys have Vedge!" That goes to show how popular and well known that place is! Don't tell Vedge, but honestly I liked True Bistro better! It was a little more relaxed than Vedge, yet it still maintained that upscale classy vibe. Kevin forgot his button up shirt for dinner when we left, and was wearing a Halloween hoodie and I was concerned they wouldn't seat us. But they were totally cool with it! They even had all Halloween music playing! This was our anniversary dinner. I didn't wanna just go to a regular place for that, and True Bistro sounded perfect!
The food was delicious! They started you off with some olive oil and fresh baked rolls. If we're being honest, bread is like my favorite thing ever, so I was excited. The rolls were sour dough and they were still hot when they came out. I got a ginger ale and Kevin got a hard cider, both were tasty. Kevin, of course, ordered French Fries and that was it lol. They had a fancy dipping sauce which he got on the side and barely touched it. The fries were perfectly crispy, I almost ate them all myself. To be fair, I am a potato junkie, so I don't have much willpower if potatoes are around.
I ordered a soup, which was perfect considering we had just walked around for 4 hours in the cold windy rain doing tours. It was a Pumpkin Apple Squash with Cinnamon Croutons and some French Bread slices for dipping. The soup was SO good! It was thick and filling, and it tasted exactly how it sounded, but it had a little spicy kick to it as well. It was absolutely delicious. We then split a dessert which was Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream. First of all, this dessert was WOW! I never cared much for ice cream, even vegan ice cream. This ice cream was SO GOOD! Kevin was blown away by how much he liked it and he's an ice cream connoisseur. The waiter said they get their ice cram from a place called FuMu which I am SO DISAPPOINTED we didn't get to visit. They use coconut milk as their base, and make vegan Choco Tacos and ice cream sandwiches and all sorts of other amazing treats that I wanted to try. Also, they're in Massachusetts only but I hope they open a location on the other side of my apartment. The banana bread itself was warm and fresh, soft with a bit of a chew, and delicious! True Bistro was my favorite and if we ever visit again, we'll be stopping there for dinner and dessert for sure!
That about sums up the food for my vacation! I was pleasantly surprised by the options they had for vegans! Salem and its surrounding areas was as tasty as it was spooky. Now if only those places could open up down here..
Friends, how have you been?! I know that it's been entirely too long since I've uploaded any blog posts but I have SO many things that need blogging.
October was a bit of a rough month for me, which is sad to say, since it's my favorite month of the entire year. I was so sick for two weeks I could barely function. I had a really bad viral infection that caused new symptoms daily. That was fun. Work was crazy since we've had people on vacation. But, it all ended on a high note when my husband and I went to Salem for our vacation/honeymoon/anniversary from October 28th-November 1st. We were the busiest of bees. And I had LOTS of vegan goodies when I was there, which I can't wait to share with you guys, but for now, I wanna talk Paul Mitchell.
Naturally when I go anywhere for an extended amount of time I bring my own haircare and bath and body products because hotels rarely have stuff I can use. I was pleasantly surprised to see our hotel supplied Paul Mitchell! Paul Mitchell has been a cruelty free brand since 1980, and they were the first beauty brand to publicly stand up against animal testing. They even refuse to sell their products in China where animal testing is mandatory. While about 90% of their products are vegan, they have a few that contain silk or beeswax. If you go on their website and look at the individual products under "Details," you can see if it's vegan or not.
The bottles in our room were Awapuhi Shampoo and The Detangler Condition. Funny story. The hair dresser my mom and I went to when I was a kid, his name was Doug, and Awapuhi Shampoo was all he used. As soon as I smelled it, I felt like a kid again! I was so excited to wash my hair!
Once I washed my hair, I remembered how much I loved this stuff and can't for the life of me remember why I stopped using it. Sure, it's a costly brand, but it's worth it because it really works! Not only does the Awapuhi smell amazing, but it's rich so it not only washes your hair but it moisturizes your hair. After you rinse it out, your hair feels soft and not dry like other shampoos you may have used in the past. You can also use it as a body wash if you can't get enough of the smell! The conditioner is great too because I have thick hair, I need a detangler. My hair gets so knotty so easily it drives me nuts. I only applied it to the ends of my hair, which is where I need it the most. I found that brushing my hair after the shower was much easier than when I use regular conditioner. It's super thick, so it stays in your hair while you wash your body or whatever you do before you wash it out. Its ingredients include grape seed oil and carrot extract to give you shiny strong hair that repels UV to keep it healthy!
I have 2 bottles of each from the hotel I'm gonna use then I'm buying the full size. I don't care about the price! I've fallen in love with these products all over again!