Thursday, October 19, 2017

Imagine Vegan Cafe's Dessert Party!

My home away from home — Imagine Vegan Cafe — typically has some sort of Halloween/fall party. It often involves a buffet of savory apps, like dogs in blankets, quesadillas, a nacho or taco bar, and other treats. But this year, for their Fall-O-Ween party, they went all out with dessert buffet. That's right. A buffet of sweets. Not a single savory item in the spread!

I typically prefer savory over sweet, but I do love a good pie slice or a cupcake. And more than anything, I just adore gluttony. The thought of eating until I pop makes me giddy. So course, I bought a ticket! For $20, you got unlimited access to the dessert and unlimited beer. My friend/brunch bitch Megan joined me.

Here's my first plate!

And my second plate (the pudding/cobbler/brownie plate — they don't photograph well)!

Whew. This was insane, y'all! Here's what was on offer. All manner of mini cupcakes — coconut, lemon, orange dreamsicle, and chocolate. I went with orange dreamsicle but skipped the rest because there was so much more to try.

There were also tiny cheesecake slivers and cinnamon bun cookies. Plus, one of my favorite desserts — chess bars!! These are ooey, gooey, sweet butter bars.

There were mini apple pies and mini cherry pies. I chose apple.

These cake balls were one of Megan's faves. They were so good!

My fave thing was the banana puddin'!! It's on the left here with the whipped cream on top. Under that was a layer of banana puddin' and vegan wafer cookies. Beside that were the Bianca Brownies (named after me!) that they typically serve in their Bianca Brownie dessert (PB chocolate brownies topped with vegan soft serve and chocolate syrup). And on the right was a warm, comfy peach cobbler. There was also a (not pictured) awesome homemade graham cracker toffee with pecans!

The most exciting thing, though, was the chocolate fountain! I've never experienced a chocolate fountain because they're never vegan when I see them at events. They had Dandies vegan marshmallows, strawberries, and pretzel rods for dipping.

I finished both of my plates, plus a Ghost River Golden Ale.

But after that, I was pretty much in a sugar coma. I was craving something salty, but I was also too full to eat another bite. So I just went home and went to bed early. Ha! This morning, I had green juice from Juice Bar and a homemade tofu scramble in lieu of my usual post-run smoothie. I just couldn't handle anything sweet today. I may have reached my sugar quota for the month!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Goddess Provisions Box: Under the Moonlight!

My October Goddess Provisions box arrived about a week ago! It's hard to believe this awesome vegan subscription service has been around for two years now! I subscribed from the very beginning, and I remember that first October box so fondly. What a treat to get to a mystery box of witchy, vegan things in the mail — crystals, teas, candles, oils, etc.

This month's box was perfect for its 2-year anniversary. The theme was Under the Moonlight, and the box was packed with things to help you sleep soundly and dream deeply.

There's a moon phase bracelet, sleepytime bath salts, moontime chocolate, a sleep perfume, sleep drops, and a Lucid Dreamer iron-on patch. There was also supposed to be a rhodonite crystal in the box, but they accidentally left it out. That's okay though because Goddess Provisions is excellent about replacing left-out or broken merch. I put in a "missing item" order, and my rhodonite arrived in the mail a couple days later.

It's a lovely chunk of rhondonite, a heart chakra stone that can heal past traumas. I love rhondonite because it's a stone of compassion, which is by far my most important guiding principle.

The Zenned Out moon phase cuff is my favorite item. It's made from aluminum, and it matches almost everything I wear!

I haven't gotten a chance to try the Little Moon Essentials Sleep Comes Easy bath salts yet since the squirrels have taken over my bathroom. But they'll be released soon, and I'll have my tub back. These are made with essential oils of bergamot, chamomile, lavender, and lemon, and I'm sure they smell heavenly.

I have, however, been making nightly use of the Soapylane Peace Perfume and the Calm-a-Mama Sleep Drops. The perfume is made with rose, chamomile, ylang ylang, and lavender, and you apply to your pulse points before drifting off to sleep. That in combination with the Sleep Drops (an elixir of chamomile, mugwort, lavender, and lemon) have been sending me straight to sleep every night!

The Chocolita Moontime Rose Chocolate is said to balance hormones during your moontime, so I'll wait for that to try it. But I've long been a fan of Chocolita's raw chocolate, so I know I'll like this.

My Lucid Dreamer patch has already found a home — on the arm of my new jean jacket! YAY!

Love this box! By the way, I'm a Goddess Provisions ambassador, which means I make a couple bucks if anyone signs up using this link. I don't get my boxes free though, just to be clear. I subscribe and pay the $33 a month, and it's totally worth it. It's a great deal, and the boxes are so much fun!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

37th Birthday Weekend, Day 3!

Last birthday post, I swear! Well, until next year when I do it all over again. But as I mentioned over the past couple posts, I stretched my 37th birthday (which was yesterday) out for 3 days with fun celebrations every day. My big friend gathering with dinner and a night out was Saturday. Sunday, we did birthday brunch and a celebration with my family.

Here's my 37th birthday selfie! I take one every year.

On Monday — my actual birthday — I took off work for a stay-cay day with Paul. I slept in until 7:30 (omg!) and then had Ramen Noodles with Tofu & Veggies in my PJs while I watched The Walking Dead on Netflix (I'm a season behind — no spoilers, please!).

I also had some coffee in a new mug that my mom had made for me. It has Maynard on it! He was impressed.

After breakfast, Paul and I went for an easy 3-mile run on the V&E Greenline by our house in Crosstown.

Typically, after a run, I have a protein shake or protein waffle. But I skipped that in favor of leftover Fried Vegan Drumsticks from Imagine Vegan Cafe. We'd eaten brunch there on Sunday, so I had some left, plus leftover mac and collards. Paul had some leftover biscuits and gravy and a piece of a waffle, also from Imagine. So I just made a giant plate!

My parents gave me birthday money to buy new running shoes, so we went to Breakaway Running for a little shopping time in the afternoon. I went back to Brooks Ghosts after a year-long break from them. Last year's model had a weird, hard plastic toe box that made my big toes go numb, but that's gone from the Ghost 10s. Can't wait to try them out after work today!

I also decided to buy myself a jean jacket as a birthday gift to myself. I've gotten so many patches and pins from Goddess Provisions boxes, plus other places. I put ALL of my patches and pins on my jacket. Maybe it's a little busy, but I don't care! Love it!

Around 4 pm, we headed to Alchemy for happy hour cocktails. They have half-off all cocktails and appetizers! I started with a Dirty Martini.

And Paul had a (not vegan) White Russian.

We also ordered an appetizer of Edamame Hummus to share. The hummus was fantastic, but those roasted chickpeas stole the show. They were so crunchy and perfect.

Then it was time for dinner! We drove out east to City Silo Table + Pantry — a super vegan-friendly place with bowls and sandwiches — to meet Mike, Andy, and Tyler.

After a weekend of fried craziness and booze, it felt really awesome to be eating such a healthy dinner. The El Goodo Bowl had buffalo tempeh, brown rice, quinoa, garlic greens, black beans, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and a serrano-avocado sauce. YUM!

I had such an amazing 37th birthday weekend! Thanks for all the birthday wishes (and thanks for putting up with my many birthday posts!).

Monday, October 16, 2017

37th Birthday Weekend, Day 2!

Today is my birthday! Yay! But since it was a Monday birthday (and real talk, because I'm a Libra), I made this a 3-day birthday weekend! Last night, I posted about my birthday party with friends on Saturday night. And tonight, I'll post about my Sunday pre-birthday brunch and family dinner. I'll save the actual birthday pics for tomorrow night.

My BFF Sheridan and her partner Drew spent the night at my house on Saturday night since they live in Little Rock. So on Sunday morning, we woke up and went to brunch before they hit the road back home. Of course we went to Imagine Vegan Cafe! They had Fried Pickles with Ranch on special, so we started with that. Y'all know I love some fried pickles!

For my entree, I went with Vegan Fried Drumsticks with Ranch & BBQ Sauce, Vegan Mac & Cheese, & Collard Greens. BEST FRIED BRUNCH!!

Here's a pic of me and Sheridan at my house before they left town. We're both wearing Herbivore shirts!

Drew always makes the best videos when they come to visit, and he created this awesome birthday video from our Saturday and Sunday adventures.

After they left, Paul and I drove to Jonesboro, Arkansas for a birthday dinner with my parents.

I requested Totchos! So my mom made vegan chili, and she had vegan cheddar, sour cream, homemade guac, pickled jalapenos, and scallions. So good!

For dinner, she drizzled a Daiya New York Style Cheesecake with chocolate syrup and crumbled Oreos on top. We enjoyed this with Ben & Jerry's vegan Cherry Garcia. Yay birthday!

Okay, one more birthday post tomorrow, and I promise I'll stop with the birthday stuff — until next year!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

37th Birthday Weekend, Day 1

My 37th birthday is Monday, October 16! But I like to stretch birthdays out for as long as possible. A Monday birthday is a perfect excuse for a birthday weekend with parties and awesome food every day! On Saturday, I started my 3-day birthday celebration with a fun day with friends, food, and booze. I'll share those pics tonight, and then I'll catch y'all up on days 2 and 3 over the next couple days.

My BFF Sheridan and her partner Drew came up to Memphis from Little Rock on Saturday afternoon for my birthday party. Sheridan and I have been besties since eighth grade, and I'm so glad we live close enough to see each other every few months. We had a little time to kill, and Crosstown Concourse — the amazing building where I work — has only been open a few months, so I wanted to take them on a tour. Plus, it was around lunch time, so we started with snacks from Mama Gaia, the all-veg, organic restaurant inside Concourse.

I ran 16 miles on Saturday morning, before they arrived, and I was famished. But I knew I also needed to save room for birthday dinner (which was only a few hours away), so I went with a light snack — the Cena Petitzza with vegan cheese and mushrooms.

After lunch, I gave Sheridan and Drew a tour of this awesome, repurposed 14-story building. Here are Sheridan and I in front of artist Kevin Bongang's mural, a temporary piece that wraps around the Crosstown theater (which is still under construction).

We ended our tour at Next Door American Eatery, also inside Concourse, for beers! 

From there, we walked across the street to Crosstown Arts for a couple of art openings, one of which was for this awesome mural depicting local artist Michael Roy. It was painted by a visiting artist, Patrick Kane McGregor. Both artists posed in front of the mural for us.

We goofed around a bit.

And took a photo in front of the I Love Memphis mural.

And then it was time for dinner! I made birthday plans at Blue Nile with a bunch of friends.

I started with a Tofu Skewer appetizer.

And I went with the Veggie Platter for my main entree. I love Ethiopian food SO MUCH. So very much.

After dinner, we moved the party to Railgarten — a fun outdoor bar that's pretty much like hanging out in someone's giant backyard. They were having their Oktoberfest celebration, so the place was especially packed. We took some pics. I drank wine from a can (classy). We hula-hooped. And we chilled by the bonfire. Perfect night.

More birthday pics coming tomorrow!