Friday, December 30, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I watched the documentary Fat Sick And Nearly Dead.  It tells the story of two very unhealthy men who take the drastic step of a 60 day juice fast to help loose weight and get healthy.  I have watched several inspiring documentaries lately but this one really moved me to action.  They showed a woman who used a juice fast to help with her migraines. I was sold.  I started today on a 15 day juice fast.  I have the next 4 1/2 days off of work and I'm hoping that any nasty detox stuff will be done by then. I am also giving up Diet Coke for at least the next 60 days so this is really monumental and my body is not going to be happy!

Here was my load from the grocery store.  I expect this to last me the first 5 days.

I made my first glass this morning. 

It was quite a production that took about 30 minutes to juice and clean up.  I'm hoping that will get easier!  It tastes suprisingly good.  It has a clean, refreshing taste with a lot of the cucumber coming through.  This juice is Kris Carr's "Make Juice, Not War" green juice.  Here is a link to the recipe and her website: Kris Carr Crazy, Sexy Life- juice recipe.   Her story is an amazing one!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vegas Vegan

Yes, I had to throw in a food post about my trip to Las Vegas.  This is my first vacation since going vegan.  Las Vegas is about excess of alcohol, money and food but it is hardly a mecca of clean, natural, meat and dairy free food...or so I thought. Enter Wynn Las Vegas.  Steve Wynn and his wife began living a vegan lifestyle a couple of years ago.  They mandated that all restaurants in their hotel from the pizza place to the fancy steakhouse have a vegan menu.  Not just a crappy vegan option but an entire selection of choices: breakfast, lunch and dinner, every restaurant.  More about Steve Wynn and his vegan venture

The first meal I had was at the Italian restaurant Stratta.  I chose a thin crust pizza with caramelized onions, broccoli rabe and a smattering of soy cheese.  I finished my meal with coconut tapioca with strawberries and a citrus infusion.  Quite divine!

The next morning at breakfast we ate at the Terrace Cafe and I enjoyed french toast made of baguette and dipped in banana soy milk.  Drizzled with real maple syrup and strawberries I can't think of a bad word about this.  The next day I ate lighter but no less fabulously: Special K vanilla with almonds, almond milk and fresh fruit :)

We ate twice at the buffet and the highlight for me was the pasta station.  I watched while a chef freshly prepared spinach and artichoke raviolis in a dairy free Alfredo sauce.  I chose to add in spinach and garlic. It was great!

I had the Vegan Meal Deal at Pizza Place. I started with a fresh crisp salad with a great Italian dressing.  I had a side of garlic knots with a marinara dipping sauce.  I topped that all off with a pineapple and soy cheese pizza that was heaven!!

I ended the week of feasting with a trip to Ronald's Donuts on the way to the airport.  We stopped in at 5:15 am and were warmly greeted by the Asian husband and wife who run the place.  They don't have any signs but the entire top two rows of donuts are vegan.  I got 6 glazed donut holes and a cream filled chocolate covered glazed donut.  They were gone before I made it on the plane and I immediately wished I had gotten a dozen.  Ronald rocks!  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wynn Win!

I admit that I'm a hotel snob. This is largely due to the fact that I worked for many years in the hotel industry. I know what is expected and I refuse to settle for any less. I know that at least 2-3 people are down on the floor in a bathroom checking for stray hairs so if I happen to find one on my hotel bathroom floor I'm not just grossed out I'm also offended that 2-3 people were too lazy to notice it. The other thing that has turned me into a snob are relatively inexpensive hotel rooms in Las Vegas. I've stayed in rooms for $79 that made a $329 room in Boston look like a trash heap. Suffice it to say that my hotel standards are high and I expect a lot for very little.

Enter Wynn Las Vegas. It did not disappoint. Here is the huge bathroom. I couldn't fit it all in this picture:

This is the rest of the room. There are push button controls to operate the lights and windows so that when I walked in I touched a button and like something out of a movie the lights brightened and the curtains parted revealing floor to ceiling windows with a view of the property, down the entire Strip and out to the mountains.

I don't usually even bother with the little toiletries that a hotel leaves for you because the quality stinks, they smell even stinkier and I just don't have any interest. These products are fabulous. I first tried them at my trip to the spa and I felt great the rest of the day. Here's my takeaway: shower gel, shampoo, conditioner , moisturizer, body and hand soap, packs of Q tips and cotton swabs, shoe polish and buffing clothes:

I was sorry to leave but glad to head home. Oh did I mention the bubble glass wine glasses or the ipod docking station? It's really hard for me to stay at a Comfort Inn after a trip to Vegas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Neon Museum

I've just returned from Las Vegas and will likely have several Vegas themed posts in a row.  This one focuses on a trip we took to the Neon Boneyard.  For years we were aware that there was a place in Vegas where discarded, old, no longer in use neon signs were kept.  It was not advertised and even if you figured out where it was you couldn't just show up and see the signs.  They have gotten more structured in the past couple of years.  In fact, they are working on an actual museum that will officially be open to the public.  But in the meantime they have organized the neon signs.  They have cleaned up the boneyard so that it isn't a mess of twisted steel and garbage.  We still had to make an appointment ahead of time.  You still cannot, in no uncertain terms, expect to just show up and get a tour.  Well, we made a reservation, were told where the site is and it was so worth the wait.  This is such a little gem of Las Vegas history.

This was our tour guide.  He spent about an hour and a half leading us through the boneyard and telling all kinds of history and facts that I promptly forgot.

When I lived in Las Vegas I lived walking distance from the Showboat and found myself there a few times:

I worked at the Flamingo Hilton so it was neat to see these old Flamingo signs:

Ken is the real Vegas history buff and so I think he thought the whole thing was really neat.  We will be excited to go back once they have an official museum but I like the idea of having been able to see the signs all kind of rough and out in the open like these were.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Living Room Re-Do

In my perfect life I get to buy a new plush love seat, 32" flat screen TV and vintage dresser stand to place the TV on.  In my real life I get to rearrange my living room so it all feels a little bit newer.

This was my living room when I moved in over a year and a half ago.  There isn't anything wrong with this configuration- but again-just trying to mix things up a little.

Here is the new look:

I made a quick trip to Best Buy for a 25' cable cord and I was able to move the TV to this wall.  Since I wasn't able to buy a vintage dresser to place my new flat screen on I made do with placing some fabric over my Target particle board stand.

The view of the fireplace has opened up.  There is more of a walk through space.  The TV is at a better distance for viewing.  And Lou still has room for his box.  I've gotten him down to just  one box top from the 2 paper bags and 3 boxes that he started the month out with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CD Swapping

So, a few things happened recently that made me realize I needed to say goodbye to my collection of CDs.  I have been helping clean out my parent's garage and encouraging them to trash, sell or donate every single item.  And yet I had  2 full boxes of empty jewel cases (the CDs being at home in those organizer thingees) sitting in that same garage.  

I've wanted to do something with them for a while.  Although I have fully embraced this digital world we live in I still had a huge fear of all of my music being wiped out with no CD collection to fall back on.  With that fear in mind I subscribed to an online backup site called Carbonite.  I now have all of the files, photos and music on my computer backed up in cyberspace by a reputable company.  So, even if there is a flood, fire, theft or boneheaded user error I can retrieve my music. 

I knew about a site called Swap A Book from my mom.  They have a sister site called Swap A CD.  I have now been spending much time organizing, posting, mailing and requesting CDs.  It seems like each day I come home to find little packages like this in my mailbox:

Today's mail brought me back to 80's.  These are both ones I had on cassette tape but never managed to get on CD... until now.  So, I get the CD, back it up into iTunes and then Carbonite makes it all safe and sound.  Any actual CDs hanging around by my next yard sale will be adios... and everyone's happy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

For The Love Of Shoes...

Today I went to the local Goodwill hoping to find a black jacket.  Instead I walked out with 2 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of shoes and a book for under $34.00.  All four pairs look brand new.  They don't have any scuff marks on the heels or soles.  A little disinfectant and I will be styling some great new winter footwear!

This is the first pair I spotted.  I really needed a new pair of brown boots so I could actually justify this purchase. 

This pair of boots was just for pure fun.  Don't worry they are completely man made-no real snake skin for me!

I used to have a pair of shoes similar to the ones on the left and just recently had to toss them because they were beat up. And they ended up being only 4.00! The shoes on the right--I love these kind of shoes.  I have a pair of ones that sort of look the same but in black.  I didn't need them but they are too cute to turn away.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Great Meal!

Almost a year ago I posted a brief comment here about how, with a bit of creativity, research and experimentation, I could convert almost any recipe into a healthy plant based recipe.  I was eager to test out Caesar salad dressing.  It was one of those things that I couldn't imagine being delicious without dairy products but I hoped to have success anyway!  Well, almost a year later I finally made my vegan Caesar salad and it was worth waiting for!

Ceasar Dressing:
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/8 cup raw pine nuts
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2-1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 -1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients using a processor and puree until very smooth.

Am I a complete geek that I had ALL of the ingredients for that dressing on hand and ready to go?! My meal was perfect:

I have to show off my dessert of vanilla cupcakes with coconut icing.  They are made completely dairy free and without white flour or sugar except for a modest amount of powdered sugar in the frosting.  They are so moist and yummy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rocking the Work Day Away

They had a silly contest at work this week where everyone decorated their work space.  I work in a quad style pod so the 4 of us, who always have our ear buds in, decided to go with a music theme.  I brought in my Cd's, old concert tickets and a buch of rock posters.  We even had an awesome red carpet and backstage passes.  We blasted music, did red carpet interviews and were generally silly.

Here my co-workers are setting up the red carpet:  By the way, our department actually voted and chose the hideous wall color.

We sucked up to the judges a little bit by making Tim McGraw a "Compliance Star"  We still don't know what team won :(

And in case you wondered or is what my cubicle normally looks like the other 364 days of the year:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rainy Sunday Nesting Part II

I also cooked my little tush off today. It was cold and damp outside but inside it was warm and cozy.

This is an apple crisp with raspberry garnish:

I roasted vegetables with olive oil and spices.  The red potatoes are from what will likely be my last farmer's market trip of the season.

I also made baked beans:

I think subconsciously all of the cooking comes after a week of little cooking or grocery shopping.  I foraged meals all week.  As I ate raw carrots for lunch last Thursday my co-worker mentioned that I should at least add some hummus.  My reply..."Thanks, but I ran out of hummus on Monday."    I will not be in need of food this week!

Rainy Sunday Nesting Part I

I spent today baking, decorating and reading.  It was pretty near perfect.  Last week I had a wonderful bouquet of fall flowers as a table centerpiece.  This week I brought in my fall/Halloween decorations and here is the new centerpiece. 

I love decorating my fireplace mantel:

And I love the way it glows and casts shadows at night while lit with tea lights:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plant Power

I've had a plant growing roots on my desk at work for many months.  I kept meaning to bring it home but never got around to it.  On Friday a friend brought cactus and spider plant cuttings.  I brought them all home together and vowed to get them in soil.

I also wanted to repot this plant.  I brought it not very long ago and it has grown so much that this is the third time I've given it a new home.  I splurged on this pot since I had to make a trip to Home Depot for potting soil.

Eventually the spider plant will get a home in a hanging basket but for now it will enjoy living here.

Here is the plant from work.  It is more roots than plant but I'm hoping it will grab hold and flourish.

The little cactus wasn't ready for soil so it sits in the window in my kitchen for now. Maybe one day I will post that they all survived and will show off large, full, hearty plants.