A New Decade (Birthday Weekend Recap)

Hi everyone! Did you all have fab weekends? Mine was the best I’ve had probably all summer, and as promised, I’ve got a recap of my birthday weekend for ya! (Warning: Plenty of photos ahead!)

Who doesn’t want their own birthday banner?

I woke up on Friday to this–my mom taped it up there while I was asleep, how sweet is that?! My morning continued with an unpictured homemade chocolate chip oat flour waffle topped with fresh raspberries and chocolate protein frosting.

I love having a summer birthday because I can always wear a cute dress on my big day!

Most of the morning and afternoon were low-key. My mom and I stopped at the store to pick up a few things she needed and then we headed downtown for a special Olympics event they were holding. We got there around 4, which was when it was supposed to start, but not much was going on when we first got there. There were some cool things set up, like a giant trampoline, BMX ramps, a mini tennis court and a synthetic ice rink but no one was really doing anything. We did end up getting on TV though–one of the guys I know from my TV internship saw us and he interviewed my mom! And I also got some free Starbucks (unsweetened iced coffee) so it was worth it.

Whole Foods cold bar dinner: jicama apple quinoa salad, sweet potato/pepper/currant salad, marinated artichokes, zucchini pickles, chipotle orange tofu, curried potatoes and Korean slaw.

For my birthday dinner, I chose the Whole Foods salad bars! I am obsessed with the one near me, they always have the best stuff and they change it a lot so I can always get something new. My mom got some of the Mexican things they had, I got a random mish-mash of cold salads and my dad got a seafood sandwich (my sister was at her rehearsal for the theatre camp she’s at, so she missed out on the WF fun). Oh, and we of course watched the Olympic opening ceremonies! The best part is watching all the countries come in and making fun of their outfits.

My first birthday cake in a couple years! Totally vegan, and totally yummy!

I’m usually not a huge fan of cake. I’ll eat it if it’s a really interesting flavor, but I definitely prefer giant warm cookies or vegan ice cream for desserts. In fact, the last couple of years for my birthday, I’ve requested gelato instead of cake. But this year, I was super excited to try one of Whole Foods’ vegan cakes. I was planning on getting a slice of raw cheesecake but (full disclosure) the fat and calorie content kinda freaked me out. I loved how simple the ingredients were (cashews, coconut oil, raw chocolate) but I ended up with a slice of their vegan chocolate raspberry cake. And I was not disappointed at all! I split this giant square with my dad, who also loved it. With most cakes, I scrape the frosting off immediately because I’ve never been a fan. But this vegan frosting was so rich and delicious that I couldn’t skip it.

My special birthday nails (that match my laptop!)

Saturday wasn’t too exciting. I had work in the afternoon, but after dinner, my dad and I watched The Descendants. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley were perfect in it and it was a really great movie. Funny in some parts, and super sad in others. Plus it made me realize that I need to move to Hawaii!

Ready for a day of shopping!

Sunday was the day I was really looking forward to. I decided to forgo birthday presents in favor of a parent-funded shopping spree in Denver. I live for shopping, seriously! I just love looking through all the stores I love, laughing at some of the weirder items and finding the perfect outfits. We started out at the Pavilions at the 16th Street Mall and hit up H&M and Forever 21. Both of those stores are HUGE at that location so it can be kinda hard to find something you want to buy, but it’s still super fun. And I bought my first-ever item at H&M!

From top to bottom: navy lace tee (Hollister), pink printed tank dress (Forever 21), colorblock skirt (F21), navy bow leather flip-flops (HCo.)

I love long necklaces: pink heart pendant (Forever 21), jeweled parrot pendant (ALDO Accessories).

We also went to my favorite mall on the south side of Denver. My sister and I ventured off on our own and ended up going to a bunch of stores: Hollister, American Eagle, ALDO Accessories, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. It sucked though because it was a Sunday, and we got to the mall around 4:30…and all the stores started closing at 6. We got to Abercrombie as soon as they were closing, so we had to rush around trying to find something to buy and I left the store empty-handed. We’ve never gone up there on a Sunday, so it was weird being kicked out of the stores so early, but we’ll know better next time.

I feel so French in this dress: light pink/black striped T-shirt dress (H&M).

Cute in stripes: orange/navy striped cropped tee (Hollister).

Apparently I love orange: strapless orange dress (Hollister).

Garbanzo is one of my fave places to go! I ordered a plate with falafel, tabbouleh, cilantro sauce, grilled eggplant, lettuce, red cabbage and hummus.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to the vegetarian restaurant because it was a little pricey but I’m planning a visit to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my college town sometime soon. We did go to Garbanzo, though, which I could eat at every week. They have a lot of vegan options too which I love and everything there is so fresh and pretty cheap. Their tabbouleh and hummus are my favorite of any Mediterranean place I’ve been to!

So that’s pretty much my entire birthday weekend. I had such a fun time, treated myself a few times and did some major shopping. I couldn’t have asked for a better 20th birthday!

What did you do for your last birthday? What do you like for your birthday dessert?

Christmas Came Early!

Hi everyone! I can’t believe how close we are to Christmas, it’s craaaaaaaazy! I am so excited for the big day, of course, but also to finally be free of school. I have one more final tomorrow afternoon and then I’m home free–literally! College is super awesome because they give you a month off. Honestly, that’s all I really want for Christmas, but some presents are a nice bonus πŸ˜‰

Because I’m obviously in the Christmas spirit, I decided to share a few things from my life lately that are somewhat holiday-related. First up is (part of) a survey, from Β Alexandra andΒ Tara. I love doing surveys and a Christmas one is even better! I kinda shortened it so this post wouldn’t be quite as monstrous. I also was awarded the Versatile Blogger award by Lindsay, which was super sweet of her, and since I’m doing this survey, it kinda counts as my seven random facts, right? Either that or I’m just too lazy to come up with seven more things about me πŸ˜€

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I’m gonna go with eggnog, but I like the Silk Nog, not the regular way-too-sweet-and-rich stuff. The Nog is so good without being too much.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

He definitely wraps them, but his handwriting and wrapping paper is different, so you can tell who it’s from πŸ˜‰

3. Colored or white lights on the tree/house?

In a perfect world, I would have pink lights on everything! But I think white looks so classy and wintery on houses.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Ermmmm, no. I always think it’s super awkward if there is mistletoe for some reason.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. We like to have them up early, and don’t take them down until sometime in January!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (besides dessert)?

Gosh, I was totally going to say a dessert since that’s the best part! We don’t always have the same thing, but I remember last year we had chili lime pasta with grilled shrimp and it was sooooo good!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

My dad used to always read short Christmas stories to us on Christmas Eve right before we’d go to bed–I used to fall asleep though!

8. What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

Lots of clothes, because I’m a total shopaholic and also a vegan cookbook.

9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?

Nope, never! We always save them til Christmas morning and we try not to rush through opening them. We open stockings first, then have breakfast and get dressed and then finally open presents. When I was little, I always just wanted to open all my presents right away!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

The one in my dorm is tiny, but it has ornaments that match my bedding–so it’s pink, red, purple and orange! The one in my bedroom at home has blue lights and aqua and silver and green ornaments and the main tree has a ton of random ornaments that we put up every year. My favorite one is a mini book about Humpty Dumpty–don’t ask πŸ˜‰

11. Snow–love it or dread it?

I always love the first snow because it’s so beautiful, but I hate when it sticks around and gets all dirty. I also love snow on Christmas, but it rarely happens here. We almost always get snow on Easter in Colorado, though, which is super bizarre!

12. Real tree or fake tree?

We’ve never had a real tree because my mom has allergy issues with plants, but I think our fake one looks just fine! Plus we can reuse it year after year!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I got a doll house when I was like 3 or 4 and I was soooooo excited about it! I loved playing with it for years afterwards.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas to you?

Being with my amazing family and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season (so cheesy, I know, but true!)

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Peppermint bark! I’m on a mission to veganize it this year, so check back for a recipe hopefully soon! I’m also kinda in love with the festive garland bars I made over Thanksgiving break, so those are a definite must-make-again.

I think I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I got some free goodies from iHerb just for reviewing their products on my blog! How nice of them! I just got the package the other day and I swear I thought it was Christmas morning, I was so excited to rip into it!

Delicious free food is a great early Christmas present!

They sent me an Earnest Eats baked whole food bar in choco peanut butter, a jar of Artisana walnut butter with cashews and a 15-pack variety bag of organic lollipops! If that isn’t a great package I don’t know what is! The great part about all these products is that they’re completely vegan (even the lollipops) and have awesome ingredients. So far, I’ve only tried the walnut butter, which is subtle but sweet and nutty. I love having a new nut butter to add to my growing collection, which now includes crunchy almond butter, almond peanut cashew butter and homemade coffee maple pecan butter! I’ll let you guys know what I think of the other two products once I try them out. Thanks again so much, iHerb!

And finally, another early Christmas “present”…my last sweet potato! You can bet I savored this bad boy–topped with vegan chocolate chips and peanut flour paste. Chocolate chips sound like a weird topping, but trust me, it was sooooo good, since they got all melty on top of the hot potato!

Now I want to have a sweet potato again...

What was your favorite gift ever? How do you top your sweet potato?