Monday, May 11, 2015

What I Ate - April/May 2015

I've been a little stressed at work lately, so I haven't had a chance to post much. I wanted to remedy that, but since my life has pretty much been work, eat, sleep, repeat, I haven't had much to write about. However, inspired by Vegan Crunk's "Stuff I Ate" posts, I figured I could at least share some of the better things I've eaten in the past couple weeks. I love drooling over everyone's vegan food posts, so I thought this would be a fun, quick, and visual way to showcase some finger-lickin' vegan food I've eaten recently! Note: Most of these have been posted previously on my Instagram, in case you already follow me there and are thinking these look a tad familiar!

 My version of Frito pie! I made this with Trader Joe's Corn Dippers (though Fritos are "accidentally" vegan), black and refried beans, Follow Your Heart's Cheddar Vegan Gourmet Shreds (my new fave vegan cheese shreds!), crispy cabbage, red salsa and hot sauce. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Recipe: Castagnaccio or Tuscan Chestnut Flour Cake

Tuscan Castagnaccio or Chestnut Flour Cake

Next in my series of veganizing traditional Tuscan food, I want to share with you a recipe for a rustic peasant cake called castagnaccio (otherwise known as migliaccio in some regions of Italy). This is a slightly sweet, slightly savory flat chestnut flour cake. It uses only simple, seasonal ingredients to create a distinct, unique dish!

My Babbo (Italian for daddy) showed me how to make castagnaccio, and got me hooked on this treat! He remembers eating it growing up in Fiesole, Italy, though outside of Tuscany he doesn't think it is very well-known. It's such a traditional taste of Tuscany that I wanted to share it with you! Below you'll find the recipe my dad handed down to me, which was handed down to him from his mother, my Italian Nonna.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Day at Death Salon Getty Villa: From Ancient Necropolis to LA's Metropolis

This past Sunday, April 26th, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Death Salon held at The Getty Villa in Malibu, California, whose broad focus was "From Ancient Necropolis to LA's Metropolis". The Death Salon is curated in part by The Order of the Good Death, who helps put on these events in different locations around the world. This time they partnered with J. Paul Getty Museum and The Getty Villa to bring Los Angeles a view of death that the ancient Etruscans, Romans, and Greeks held, plus touching on some local LA death-centric topics. But wait, you might be asking yourself...just what is a Death Salon? The Death Salon website explains, "In the spirit of the eighteenth-century salon – informal gatherings of intellectuals – Death Salon encourages conversations on mortality and mourning and their resonating effects on our culture and history."

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Halfway to Halloween + Walpurgisnacht

It's April 30, ghouls and boils, which means it is officially HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN!!

Only 6 months to go!

Please excuse me while I squeal...SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Witch by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Tonight also marks Walpurgis Night, or Walpurgisnacht, aka Witches' Night!

From Wikipedia:

"Walpurgis Night is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, one of the German names for the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Germany. In German folklore Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (literally "Witches' Night"), is believed to be the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe."

Stay spooky and better start getting your Halloween plans in order!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Watch Now on Netflix: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

I have been DYING to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, billed as the "first Iranian vampire Western ever made", and it was one of my most-anticipated horror films of 2015, so I was basically counting the days until it showed up on Netflix streaming! And it finally premiered a few days ago so I rushed home from work to see it...

Here is the synopsis:

In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

This black and white film is the feature debut from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour, and I am always stoked to see a female-helmed film, especially one as unique as this one! The film isn't your typical horror movie, in fact I'm not sure I would even call it horror. It's not for everyone, but I found it stylish and engaging, blending elements from pulp cinema, Westerns, film noir, romance, and horror. It has a languid, moody tone, some killer music, gorgeous visuals, and a misfit love (?) story.

I recommend A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night if you are in the mood for a one-of-a-kind film. You can watch it streaming now on Netflix, and you can also purchase it on Amazon!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Sweet 666th Post: Death Artwork, Death Zines and the Upcoming Death Salon

This is my six-hundred sixty-sixth post, which I wanted to recognize it by, what else, talking about death! I've got some cool things to share, like rad death-inspired artwork, an awesome cemetery zine, and the epic Death Salon coming up! Check 'em all out below!

"Bad Vibes" pin set and "Hang in There" print by
Matt Darling

If you don't know the name Matt Darling, you should! He is one of my favorite new artists and I've been drooling over his work over on Instagram. Who can resist anxiety ghosts, scaredy cats, and old hags? Not me! I finally made my first purchases of his work - I bought his delightfully downbeat "Bad Vibes" pin set (spooks, black cats, skeletons skulk around gravestones etched with phrases like "Naw Man", "Can't Win, Don't Try", "Here Lies Who Cares", and my personal favorite "Whatevs 4-evs") as well as a "Hang in There" print. So pleased with everything! You can check out his artwork for sale on!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day is Everyday if You're Vegan

Happy 45th Earth Day, a wonderful day to be grateful for our home and reflect on how we might change our habits to preserve and protect the Earth and all the lives it contains. As Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day stated, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”

How can we achieve this "environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures"? Well, we can start by treating everyday like Earth Day! The simplest and most effective way to do this is adopting a plant-based diet! If you decide to ditch dairy, eggs, and meat, your impact will be tremendous. Not only will you help the environment and all those that live on this Earth, but with by focusing on a plant-based or vegan diet, you will also improve your own health and help save animals from unimaginable cruelties.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe: Rustic Tuscan Summer Bread Salad

Not many people know this, but I was actually born near Florence, Italy and moved to the States with my parents when I was around 4 years old (my mom was American, and my dad Italian, so I have dual citizenship). Even though we moved to the States, I grew up on Tuscan cooking, with recipes handed down to my dad from my Italian Nonna. These recipes are near and dear to my heart since I was never able to meet my Italian grandparents.

With some help from my parents, I've decided to veganize the Tuscan dishes I grew up with, and share these veganized recipes with you. Luckily, some are already vegan (like today's recipe), so I'll be sharing those as well, since many aren't commonly know outside of Tuscany.

My first recipe I'd like to share is Panzanella, which is a bread salad dish typically served on hot summer days. I know that bread salad sounds a little weird, but trust me, it's actually quite delicious! And if you're a carb queen like myself, you'll love it!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

John Carpenter's Music Video for "Night"

Unless you've been living in a far off land or under a rock, you probably know that John Carpenter released a glorious debut solo album called Lost Themes back in February. Yes, that John Carpenter, the legendary director and composer behind Halloween, Escape From New York, They Live, Assault on Precinct 13, and many more!

I love the whole album, which is very evocative of the '80s and many of Carpenter's own films and film scores. Whenever I listen to Lost Themes, I feel like it's a soundtrack that's been created specifically for me and that I'm in the middle of my very own film. It's that powerful and atmospheric!

And if that weren't enough, just yesterday Carpenter released the official music video for one of his tracks, "Night". It's one of my favorite new songs off the new album, and seeing the video was such a treat I wanted to share it with you all! Check it out:

Product Review: Balanced Guru Energy Mists

Balanced Guru's Energy Mists

I discovered so many incredible new products at last month's Natural Products Expo West! One amazing company I came across was Balanced Guru, who makes aromatherapy scents/perfumes called Energy Mists to help elevate or regulate moods and feelings. I briefly discussed them in my best products of Expo West post (read here), but I wanted to give them their own full post, as they were kind enough to send me home from Expo with a travel kit of their Energy Mists, which I've been using ever since!
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