Weekend Update: Feb. 21-22

I’m stuck on the intro to this one.  I really just want to jump right into the good stuff but years of English classes have ingrained this need in me to have an intro.  A hook.  And I’m stuck.  Which is silly because this is my blog and I can write whatever way I want, right?  Jeez, here we go.  We have been hosting/rooming with our friends Luke and Kaitie for the past month.  They both race bikes professionally (cool friends are cool, am I right?) and they are the most considerate house guests/living buddies you could imagine.  Collin and I concluded that the worst part about having them around all the times is that they do too much for us i.e. dry our dishes and help with groceries.  Like, seriously what is that?  Does that even count as a complaint?

But honestly, it’s been so much fun to have people around to do cool stuff with, make good food with, and generally have a ton of fun with (please don’t ever leave.  I’m kidding.  No I’m not.)

Look at them, aren't they cute!?

Look at them, aren’t they cute!?

ANYWAY what I actually want to write about is this past weekend In Which We Went Camping and Also to a Cocktail Party.  You know our motto, don’t ever say no to anything even if trying to do it all causes some mid-Saturday morning stress (classic).

So, on Saturday we made it up to the woods around 2:30 PM.  Finding a first-come-first-serve campsite was too easy and we did a 4-5 mile hike down to the actual Muir Woods that afternoon.  We didn’t see any Ewoks but we did almost convince Kaitie that they are real animals 😉

Magic, pure magic

Magic, pure magic

Saturday night, Collin and I also had his employee appreciation party in the City for Apple.  So, when we got back from our hike, we changed into cocktail attire, and headed to the California Academy of Sciences in SF.  You did read that right, Apple rented out a MUSEUM for the WHOLE NIGHT and then gave us FOOD AND ALCOHOL and said HAVE FUN.  It rocked.  Although, as the resident vegans, we were a little disturbed by the fresh sushi being served in the aquarium part of the museum.  It was just really weird.  But we had a great night and it was an amazing experience!

Aquarium selfie!

Aquarium selfie!

Lots of Apple people and also the Rain Forest room which was sick!

Lots of Apple people and also the Rain Forest room which was sick!

We called it a night around 10:30, changed back into camping clothes on the side of the road, and drove the 40 minutes back up to the mountains to enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep in the woods.  Shout out to Mom and Dad for getting me a great sleeping bag for Christmas this year!  It rocked and I was so cozy!

Sunday we woke up, had a classic camping breakfast of tea and oatmeal, and then did a hike out to Red Cliff Beach.  California is a crazy state.  One minute we’re in woods that are straight out of Jurassic Park, and then next we’re on a beach getting sunburnt.  Like what is this place?  Why aren’t you all out here already?

Red Cliff Beach

Red Cliff Beach

We explored Sausalito on our way home (a little disappointing, a lot overly bourgeois) and found an insane hot dog joint in SF that also had an extensive Vegan menu.  Seriously, Underdogs – so good.  So vegan!

GROUP PIC!

GROUP PIC!

Collin took all of these pictures since he’s recently added Amateur Photog Extraordinaire to his many talents/interests/hobbies.  Look at more of his pictures here!

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Team Adventure, Reunited!

This is a post on Life Lately.  Our friend, Brent, flew in last Wednesday night and the three of us have just been having a grand old time back together again doing our usual ridiculous stuff.  One of the last adventures we had together in NH was to hike to the top of Mt. Carrigain on a Friday night, starting around 9 PM and reaching the summit around midnight where we then camped.  You know, normal stuff.  SO, knowing that that kind of nonsense is our M.O., hopefully you won’t think we’re too bananas by the end of this post.

SATURDAY:

We drove down to Santa Cruz Saturday morning since we’re only about an hour away from the beach and the forecast was GORGEOUS (75 and sunny, sorry New England!)  We walked down and around the beach, watched some surfers, hopped some fences, and watched some CRAZY waves for about 3 hours.

My favorite guy getting his photography sea legs, if you will ;)

My favorite guy getting his photography sea legs, if you will 😉

For lunch we drove up Hwy 1 until we found some beach access and ate a picnic of Collin’s homemade Japanese curry (you’ll have to ask him for the recipe or be patient and keep your fingers crossed that I post it here!) while watching dolphins play in the waves.  YEA.  DOLPHINS.  OVER LUNCH.  NO I DIDN’T TAKE ANY PICTURES, WHY DO YOU ASK?

After lunch we drove maybe 30 min to a Redwood grove and basked in the glory of the biggest and bestest trees at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  We didn’t pay the parking fees, don’t tell!

a Brent Doscher original @ the Redwoods.

a Brent Doscher original @ the Redwoods.

THEN (I know you’re getting tired but stick with me) we drove 4ish hours including a Chipotle break up into the Sierras.  We had originally planned to spend the whole weekend up in the mountains but with the snow the way it was (read: nonexistent), it didn’t seem worth it.  We got to the hotel around 11:30 (I think?) and then went on a nighttime hiking adventure so C and B could play with some nighttime astrophotography.  It was very cold, very dark, and very very awesome.

SUNDAY (I know, you never thought we’d get here):

The boys went snowboarding.  I decided that it wasn’t worth it for me to buy a lift ticket and instead spent some time reading outside in the sunshine (it was 65 degrees out) and took a little snow hike in the afternoon.  Even with the unseasonable warmth, there was still several inches of snow cover everywhere and I couldn’t make it very far without snowshoes.  But heck, any day is a good day to be outside!

Snowy, solo woods exploring.  My feet got really wet.

Snowy, solo woods exploring. My feet got really wet.

MONDAY:

After work we drove up for dinner in SF.  We went to Herbivore which was not bad but not great.  The key to a Great vegan restaurant is that they don’t try to be Not vegan.  Like, having Penne and “Meatballs” on your menu is not something a Great vegan restaurant would do.  Still, it is a good compromise to go to these types of vegan restaurants when you are hosting non-vegans.  But I digress.

After dinner we drove around the city for a bit.  We drove down Lombard Street which I had never heard of before and which was a little terrifying.  Our end game was driving over the Golden Gate and up into the Marin Headlands park for more night photo taking.  It was such a calm, warm night it felt like summer time stomping around the park.  We were there until about 11:30 PM and then had an hour drive home.  Worth the exhaustion, without a doubt.

Brent's asking me to stand awkwardly in his pictures has totally gone to my head/I'm a model.

Brent’s asking me to stand awkwardly in his pictures has totally gone to my head/I think I could really make it as a professional model.

Probably the most exciting part of my weekend was making Brent’s website portfolio with my Stance in the Redwoods.  Check out the rest of his work at www.brentdoscher.com.  He’s real good with a camera.

Also check out Collin’s blog soon, he’s got a lot of sick shots waiting to be posted as well.  I assume.  This could be awkward if he never puts them on the internet……………………………

It’s been so so great having a friend here to explore our new turf with.  I’m looking forward to more visitors and for repeat trips (cough Brent cough)!

That Vegan Life

In 7th grade home ec (rebranded Family and Consumer Science by that time #politicalcorrectitude), our class watched a movie on vegetarianism. I don’t remember much of the movie except that it upset and inspired 12 year old me to declare my new resolution to become vegetarian. I was even committed enough to get some books from the library on being vegetarian and eating well!  The only flaw in my plan was that during this phase of my life (ages 0-20) I ate approximately 0 vegetables and pretty much sustained myself on fruit, meat, and carbs.  In fact, this foray into vegetarianism coincided with Easter weekend (a.k.a. the Catholic Ham Holiday) and, since I did not partake in any of the side dishes full of veggies, my meal consisted almost entirely of potato chips.  And chocolate.  Because Easter candy… NEEDLESS TO SAY, my first meat free diet attempt did not go well or last long.

About a year ago, Collin and I decided to “go local” i.e. we tried to only buy meat and eggs from local farms.  We decided to do this because it helped to make us much more aware of what we were consuming, not only for our own health, but so that we did not take the lives of farm animals for granted.  We got our meat from a farmer who worked with Collin and we got eggs from my coworker who was living on her boyfriend’s parents’ farm (which was a GREAT system).  The main comment we heard from people was that eating local was expensive and that’s true, it is more expensive.  So we started to eat less meat and we really enjoyed it when we did.  On the nights that we did have meat for dinner, it was a big deal and that was kind of the point for us.  It should be a big deal.  We also tried to eat local when we went out which is where everything got a little fuzzier and where we yielded way more often to our food cravings.  We would try to ask where the meat came from but slowly our convictions started sliding to ordering food with meat sourced from New York or Montreal (not really local) if it was from a good, organic, ethical farm, because that made it okay, right?  Things just started being good enough and we would casually laugh it off and enjoy our pulled pork burritos or McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Enter, Veganism.  Collin got there first.  He read a book loaned to us by our already vegan friends – Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran-Foer.  I have not actually read the words off of these pages, but I have heard a lot of them read out loud and a lot of the points of the book were discussed at length in our house while Collin was reading it.  I really should pick it up one of these days though.  Essentially- it was the catalyst for Collin go make the leap to go vegan.  I won’t speak for him as to his personal reasons for making the choice.  They are similar to mine, but they are also different.  I took another couple weeks to make the step on my own and it basically came down to this – I cannot ignore the fact that I believe killing and abusing animals for my consumption is wrong.  Factory farming is a horrible, horrible system.  Dairy cows and egg-laying chickens live awful, disgusting, and miserable lives.  Those are facts.  And I can’t and refuse to pretend like I don’t care about it anymore.

The most common reaction I have gotten to my “I’m Vegan!” announcement has been, “wow, that must be so hard” or some variation on that theme.  Honestly, it’s not hard at all.  Not when I believe this is the right thing for me to be doing.  And I believe it so hard.  Yea, it does suck eating salads when you go out with friends  (which, luckily, is not the norm!) and yea, 100% I miss cheese but what I don’t miss is the guilty conscience and the needing the bury my feelings about it whenever I asked for extra parmesan.  And cooking at home is a piece of cake with the internet!  Just search vegan anything you want to eat and it exists.  Trust me!  We’ve had vegan buffalo “wings” twice!

Veganism is not for the faint of heart, I will say that.  I couldn’t have lived this way 2 years ago and I feel very strongly that it’s a decision a person needs to make on their own for their own reasons.  It is hard if you don’t care enough and I can’t fault anyone for that.  AND SO 7th grade Katherine played the long game, who knew!  She and I are very happy with where we’ve ended up.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE VEGAN EATS:

  • Vegan Mac & Cheese – seriously I could stuff this in my face all day long, guys.  Try it, you won’t regret it.  Or notice that it isn’t cheese probably.
  • Garlic Pasta w/ Roasted tomatoes – I made this on my own the other night when Collin was out of town so you know it’s easy!

  • Pad thai – One of our big go tos.  Also, most thai food can be made vegan if you substitute soy sauce in for fish sauce.  FUN FACT!
  • Apple cider donuts – YUP.
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HELLO.

  • And my bagel recipe that I posted here!

Bottom line, I being vegan feels AND tastes good and I am more than happy/willing to answer any questions you may have.  Also there’s a lot more I could say on this subject so BE PREPARED FOR A SEQUEL POST.

 

Portsmouth Harbor Cruise!

On Wednesday night we tagged along with Collin’s dad,  Bill, on a sunset cruise around Portsmouth Harbor! It was put on by the local bank (Kennebunk Savings- no fees!) And it was so much fun!  Collin and I had never been out on the water in Portsmouth before and jumped on the opportunity to do something we normally wouldn’t do!  It’s fun playing tourist when vacation season is over!

It was a beautiful September night, a little chilly but not bad at all.  I was impressed/flabbergasted at some of the outfits the ladies on the cruise chose to wear.  I would have been freezing my behind off if I’d been wearing a dress with no tights AND no jacket!  I’m all about the sweaters, pants, and cozy socks as soon as it gets below 60 degrees.

Rt 1 and 95 bridges

Rt 1 and 95 bridges

We boarded around 5:45 and took off out of the Portsmouth Harbor towards the Open Ocean towards the Isle of Shoals.

Portsmouth from the water

Portsmouth from the water

We’d never seen Portsmouth from this side before!  There are some really nice apartments on the water.

Paws off, ladies

Paws off, ladies

What a dreamboat (Get it!?)

Newcastle boats and houses

Newcastle boats and houses

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Newcastle is a cute little suburb of Portsmouth with a really great sandwich shop and waterfront housing!  I’ve only experienced one of these things..

My dates for yhe evening- The Huston Gentlemen

My dates for the evening- The Huston Gentlemen

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There’s something fantastic about lighthouses.

Sunset over the Portsmouth skyline

Sunset over the Portsmouth skyline

Portsmouth by night

Portsmouth by night

Words fail

Words fail

It was such a treat to spend a beautiful evening on the water!  Find out more about Portsmouth Harbor Cruises here.

Fall in New England, guys. There are few better places to be this time of year!