Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vegan Girl Scout Cookies

Guess what?! Vegan Girl Scout cookies may be available in your area!

As reported earlier this month by the always informed quarrygirl, the ABC Bakery used by some chapters of the Girl Scouts of America has four varieties of cookies that are vegan (Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades and Thanks-a-Lots). Woo hoo!

Be careful, though, because some Girl Scout chapters use a different bakery (Little Brownie Bakers) that has NO vegan cookie options. The only vegan cookies are the four varieties mentioned above IF they are made by ABC Bakery.. 

I know the vegan Girl Scout cookies are available in my 'hood of Orange County (the Girl Scout chapter here uses ABC Bakery), but if you are in Los Angeles you are outta luck since the other bakery is used. I think these are the only two bakeries the Girl Scouts uses countrywide, but I am not 100% sure on this, so always do your research before buying!

To find out if your local Girl Scouts carry the vegan cookies, you can look for the ABC Bakery logo on the cookie boxes or look up cookie selling locations by zip code here! You can also check the ingredient list - the non-vegan bakery uses dairy in all their cookies (boo.).

I was able to buy some cookies from a co-worker whose daughter was selling the vegan varieties and I was so excited! I can't tell you the last time I was able to enjoy Thin Mints...they tasted delicious, just how I remember! I also got some Peanut Butter Patties and they were pretty much to die for as well!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vegan Donuts at The Donuttery in Huntington Beach, CA

The Donuttery's vegan donuts 
(don't mind the bite taken out of one...I couldn't wait!)

Two words - vegan donuts!!

This little hole-in-the-wall donut shop off Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach now carries vegan cake donuts (and raised donuts as of February 2015), woo hoo! I can't remember the last time I had a donut, so as soon as I heard this place was carrying vegan donuts I hightailed it over there to get my paws on some cakey deliciousness.

As soon as I walked in to the establishment I was greeted by the lovely sight of a sign that read "We now serve Vegan donuts" and rows and rows of vegan donuts. Woo hoo!

The Donuttery's vegan donut selection

I chose three cake donuts to try - a lemon-glazed one with sprinkles (please see the update below - the sprinkles used at The Donuttery are NOT vegan!), maple-glazed one sprinkled with nuts and a chocolate glazed one. I am not sure what I was expecting, but certainly not the deliciousness my mouth was greeted with! All the donuts had the perfect cake-like consistency and the glazes were divine. They were sweet without being overpowering and they tasted just like I remember donuts tasting. My favorite was the lemon-glaze one because it was sweet and tangy. Mmmm mmmmmm mmmm!!

The Donuttery is open 24 hours a day, so if you are in the mood for vegan donuts at 3 AM and live around Huntington Beach you can get them! Score!

The Donuttery is located at Beach Boulevard and Slater Avenue and also carries a variety of non-vegan donuts, coffee drinks, salads and sandwiches (I didn't see anything vegan-friendly on their food menu, though).

UPDATE #1: Someone has brought to my attention that the sprinkles used on the vegan donuts ARE NOT vegan! The sprinkles contain confectioners glaze (i.e. crushed up bugs) and therefore are not vegan. The donuts themselves are vegan, though, so you could order the ones without sprinkles.

UPDATE #2: The Donuttery no longer uses non-vegan sprinkles on their vegan donuts and has better educated themselves on vegan ingredients, so you are free to enjoy all their vegan donuts! They now also carry RAISED vegan donuts, vegan donut holes and vegan bars

Monday, February 18, 2013

Restaurant Review: Tacos Cancun in Costa Mesa, CA

Tacos Cancun - vegan Cancun Combo with 
two tacos, pinto beans and potatoes

This small restaurant is located on the busy hub of Harbor and 19th in Costa Mesa, just a block from the end of the 55 freeway. I discovered it by chance while searching for new food places and since it was so close to our house Mister Spooky and I decided to give it the old college try.

Though the restaurant serves standard meat- and cheese-filled burritos, tacos, etc., I was delighted to find that Tacos Cancun is vegan-friendly and even serves Soyrizo, soy ground “beef” and Daiya cheese! So Mister Spooky (who is not vegan) and I (vegan, obviously), could eat at the same place and both be happy!

One chilly evening we arrived at the cozy restaurant and were greeted like family. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable about the vegan options. Menu items were also marked with a “V” if they could be made vegan. Basically, you could replace the meat protein with a plant-based protein in most of the taco and burrito dishes and the dairy cheese would be substituted with Daiya. They also have the option of subbing veggies or potatoes for the protein. Other veganizable dishes include their enchiladas, tortas, quesadillas and salads.

In chatting up the friendly woman behind the counter I learned that the chef was vegan and insisted on providing vegan-options to his guests. It is so rare to find someone from Central America (where the chef is from) that is vegan so I was mightily impressed and very thankful he decided to open a restaurant with vegan options!

Tacos Cancun's vegan sign

I ended up ordering a Cancun Combo that came with two tacos (I replaced the meat with Soyrizo and the dairy cheese with Daiya cheese), a side of pinto beans (vegan!) and crispy potatoes (the rice is not vegan). The tacos were double-wrapped in tortillas and stacked high with Soyrizo, pico de gallo, lettuce and two types of Daiya. OMG…they were seriously heavenly. The tortillas were warm and soft, and the toppings had just the right amount of spice to them. I also loved the sides of pinto beans (I can’t remember the last time I was able to eat pinto beans in a restaurant…thank goodness Tacos Cancun has some sense and doesn’t use nasty lard!) and the potatoes! I would have been full on one taco plus the sides, but I cleaned my plate – that’s how good it was!

Mister Spooky went a little nuts and ordered the asada fries, cheeseburger, and street tacos. Yes, he is a big dude. The asada fries were HUGE and he could have easily been satisfied with those! He plowed through the fries and loved them! He said the street tacos were also really good. He was so full he had to take the cheeseburger to go. It’s a rare thing he can leave a restaurant completely full and satisfied (and with leftovers!), but Tacos Cancun was able to accomplish this!

One thing to note – space is limited and there are only about five tables in the joint, so keep that in mind if you go during peak hours. Other than that, it is a neat, clean space with an inviting atmosphere and awesome staff!

When we left we profusely thanked the chef and his staff since we had such a great experience here. We will definitely be back…I want to try everything that can be made vegan!

If you are in the Orange County area, I highly recommend checking out Tacos Cancun!

Tacos Cancun - vegan Cancun Torta

UPDATE: I went back and tried the vegan Cancun Torta. I had never had a torta, but it’s kinda like a Mexican sloppy Joe…beans, veggies, Soyrizo, guacamole in a hamburger-like bun. It was only $5, but it was so big I could only eat half of it! Plus, it was delicious!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Horror Movies I'm Most Looking Forward to in 2013

At the beginning of every year I like to make a list of upcoming horror movies I'm looking forward to that year. I'm a bit forgetful, so a list is essential for me to stay on top of new releases! I'm a little late in making a list this year (I blame it on a crazy January full of traveling, illness, birthday celebrations and playing catch-up at work), but I made one nonetheless to keep me on track this year.

There are plenty of upcoming horror movies in 2013 I'm looking forward to and it seems like it is going to be a very decent year for horror fans! Of course, there are some movies I'm looking forward to more than others, which is why I've given a bit of an explanation as to why I'm looking forward to each film (or a reason why I'm only tentatively looking forward to a movie).

Please note that I've grouped films by release month, but that these are only approximate and may change. I've also seen some films already released this year (like Mama - which was a solid effort but missing something I can't quite put my finger on), so I have not listed these below. 


John Dies at the End - "Just so you know...
they're sorry for everything that's about to

John Dies at the End (limited theatrical run/VOD release) - I absolutely loved the trippy book (read my review on my archive blog) and I've been looking forward to this film for quite some time, especially since Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep, Phantasm) wrote and directed. Can't wait to take this trip!

ABCs of Death - "26 directors 26 ways to die"

The ABCs of Death (VOD release, will be released theatrically in March 2013) - 26 short horror films by 26 different directors from around the can a horror fan NOT be interested in this anthology?! I've been waiting for this one to be released for a loooong time and really cannot wait to watch it. Though I might hold out until it is released theatrically in March so I can see it on the big screen!

Citadel - "They see your fear"

Citadel (DVD and VOD release) - This film finally got a U.S. DVD/VOD release this January. I have been hearing good things about it for a while now, but truth be told the trailer doesn't make it look like anything special. I'm hoping the good buzz pans out and my perceptions based on the trailer turn out to be wrong.


Warm Bodies - "Zombies need love 2"

Warm Bodies (theatrical release) - At first I was not interested in this film at all. The trailers made it look ok, but I still wasn't convinced. However, once I heard some positive reviews from people I trust, my interest was piqued. I've heard it is a fun, quirky film that offers a different perspective on the zombie subgenre. Hmmmm...may have to check it out now!

Dark Skies - "Once you've been chosen, you
belong to them"

Dark Skies (theatrical release) - I don't really like Keri Russell, and the trailer makes it look a little ho-hum, but I have to admit I'm still kinda intrigued by this movie. It looks like it could be creepy...but then on the other hand it looks like it could be lame and generic. Trying to stay cautiously optimistic for this one.



Stoker (theatrical release) - Not too sure if this is considered “horror”, but nonetheless it looks like a beautifully dark movie full of mystery, murder and intrigue. Plus, it is directed by Park Chan-wook, who has directed Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance and Thirst – all movies I've loved. If nothing else I expect a solid psychological thriller.

The Last Exorcism Part II - "The second coming"

The Last Exorcism Part 2 (theatrical release) - For the most part I enjoyed The Last Exorcism and judging from the trailers I like where they are taking the story for Part II. I like how for the second installment they are ditching the handheld cameras and following the lead character (it still freaks me out how much she looks like Michael Cera with a wig) as she tries (and fails) to adjust to “normal” life after her ordeal.

Room 237 - "Some movies stay with you 
forever...and ever...and ever"

Room 237 (DVD) - This is a documentary examining the hidden meanings in Kubrick’s The Shining. I remember discussing The Shining’s motifs, editing “mistakes”, structure and what Kubrick meant by all of it in film class, so the film nerd in me is eagerly awaiting this documentary that examines several theories about one of my favorite horror films. 


Evil Dead

Evil Dead (theatrical release) - I was pretty much opposed to this remake when I first heard about it, but after seeing the trailers I've changed my mind and actually WANT to see it (despite the poster's rather pompous proclamation that it is "the most terrifying film you will ever experience"). I also appreciate that the filmmakers have stated that practical effects are used instead of CGI in keeping with the original’s DIY attitude. Now if only it would be released with its originally-awarded NC-17 rating instead of chopping it down to an R-rating (I'm hopeful the uncut version will be eventually released on Blu-ray/DVD)!

The Lords of Salem - "We've been waiting...
we've always been waiting"

The Lords of Salem (theatrical release) - I am not one of those people that love Rob Zombie movies just cuz they are Rob Zombie movies. In fact, I think the only film from him I really like is The Devil’s Rejects. However, The Lords of Salem looks right up my alley. Witches, curses and satanic pandemonium, oh my!


Still from The Conjuring with Patrick Wilson
and Vera Farmiga

The Conjuring (theatrical release) - I am a sucker for anything ghost/haunted house/paranormal related and James Wan directed (since his slam-dunk Insidious), so I'm looking forward to this flick, about paranormal investigators called to help a family in a secluded farmhouse who are being terrorized by a dark presence.


You're Next - "His pack versus yours"

You're Next (unknown release format) - This 2011 film is FINALLY getting a proper release (though I'm unsure whether it is limited theatrical or DVD/VOD)! Director Adam Wingard directed Pop Skull and A Horrible Way to Die, both of which I enjoyed, so I am looking forward the the home-invasion horror of You're Next.

First still from Insidious Chapter 2, courtesy of 
director James Wan's Instagram (check out the lady in
the background, who I missed when I first saw this!!)

Insidious: Chapter 2 (theatrical release) - I absolutely adored Insidious (see "slam-dunk" comment above), so I am very, very excited for Chapter 2, which picks up right after the first film ends. 

Release Month Unknown:


S-VHS - I was a fan of V/H/S despite some of its segments falling flat, so I am readily looking forward to its "sequel", which will again boast various shorts for different filmmakers, including Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Jason Eisener and Timo Tjahjanto. I'm hoping S-VHS will be full of the same WTF craziness, fun and variety as V/H/S.

Katherine Isabelle in American Mary

American Mary - The Soska twins (Dead Hooker in a Trunk) are doing amazing things in the horror genre, so I am very excited to check out American Mary, which stars the stunning Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) as a disenchanted medical student. The film was already released on DVD in the UK (lucky bastards), but for us here in the U.S. no release date has been announced yet.

I know I've probably missed a few horror films in this list and I've no doubt that this list will grow as we move further into 2013 and more films' release dates are announced.

What horror films are you looking forward to in 2013?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beauty Review: ColorProof SuperRich Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

I am always on the lookout for new (or new-to-me) vegan beauty product to try, so imagine my delight when I did a search for “vegan shampoo” on and ColorProof popped up! A vegan shampoo and conditioner that also protects color-treated hair?! Sign me up!

I had never heard of ColorProof, so after checking out their website to ensure their products really were vegan and cruelty-free, I gleefully added their SuperRich Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner to my wish list.

I received the shampoo and conditioner for Christmas (yippee!!) and I was excited to try it! I have been using it since the beginning of January and so far I absolutely love it! The shampoo is rich and nourishing and reminds me of Pureology’s NanoWorks shampoo, which I used to buy until I learned they were owned by L’Oreal (who tests on animals – so even though Pureology products themselves are vegan I don’t buy them since the $$ would go to L’Oreal). The SuperRich Moisture Shampoo lathers up well and just a little goes a long way! I have tons of  thick, coarse, dry and damaged hair and a quarter-sized amount is more than necessary even for me! The smell of the shampoo is kind of bland, but I don’t mind since the smell of the conditioner more than makes up for it (more on that later). My hair feels so much plumper and more moisturized after using the SuperRich Moisture Shampoo!

The conditioner also works wonders…instead of it being overly thick and heavy, it actually feels silky and luxurious…plus my scalp tingles pleasantly from the peppermint it contains! After leaving it on a few minutes in the shower my hair feels more manageable and smooth, plus I love how it leaves my hair smelling like candy canes!

More added bonuses:

This product really does help retain my red hair color (one of the toughest colors to maintain) and I find I haven’t had to dye it as much since I started using ColorProof products. Plus, all of ColorProof’s products are:

MEA & DEA-free
Biodegradable formulas
Recyclable packaging wherever possible
100% vegan
Never tested on animals

The price might be a little expensive to some, but I think it is well worth it! Each 10.1 oz bottle of shampoo runs around $25 on and the price is about the same for conditioner. However, it does last a long time (I've only used about ½ a bottle in 4 weeks…I estimate I’ll have to buy it every 1 ½ to 2 months) and it just leaves my hair looking/feeling gorgeous!

If you are looking for a high-quality shampoo and conditioner that improves your hair’s appearance, doesn't have a lot of nasty ingredients in it and preserves your hair color, I would highly recommend checking out ColorProof!

I am so impressed by their SuperRich Moisture system that I look forward to trying their other products!
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