25 Things

Y’all know by now I love a good survey! They’re fun, easy and I think they give you a good glimpse into my life behind the blog. So here’s one I’ve been seeing around a lot lately…it’s a little different than the usual survey but I really like it!

1. I’m happiest when…I can spend some time outside, preferably with my family (which is all too rare these days). Whether it’s being active by hiking or running or just hanging out by a pool or lake, I just love being outdoors.

2. Especially if it…is super hot out! I’m a total crazy who loves it when it’s in the 90s. As long as it isn’t humid, I’m just fine. Which is why I’m seriously considering a move to AZ or southern CA as soon as possible.

I seriously miss Phoenix...

I seriously miss Phoenix…

3. I’ve always wanted to…visit a Caribbean island. I’ve still yet to travel outside the U.S., and islands just seem so fun. Plus I want some really cool photos of the gorgeous ocean.

4. My family and I…are still close even though I live nearly 700 miles away. I still text my mom daily, Snapchat with my sister frequently, tell my dad to watch my newscasts and try to Skype them when I can. I love being so independent, but I love being connected to my fam.

5. I was a terrible…volleyball player. I dreaded the VB rotation in P.E. class because I could never figure out how to serve a ball over the net. Ironically, my best friend convinced me to join her intramural volleyball team during my last semester of college and it was actually fun because we all kinda sucked.

6. My first job was…technically the one I’m in now, as an associate producer (slash actual producer sometimes) at a TV station. But I did get paid for my “first” job as an editor for a monthly campus newsletter, so I guess that counts. Even though I worked maybe 10 hours per week!

7. I could probably eat ____ everyday…sweet potato fries. For some reason, they’re one of the few things I actually crave, probably because I don’t get to enjoy them that much. And I don’t mean homemade sweet potato fries that are just cut up sweet potatoes that are baked. I mean the crispy kind, preferably the ones at Native Foods!

Even 'raw' sweet potato fries are good!

Even ‘raw’ sweet potato fries are good!

8. I stole…stevia packets from a restaurant once. Hey, most places only have the crappy artificial stuff, so you gotta stock up when you can!

9. I was born on the same day as…Maya Rudolph (love her), A-Rod and Bugs Bunny.

10. My all-time favorite film is…The Devil Wears Prada. No freaking question. Runner-up: Mean Girls. I can quote that movie all day long.

11. I do a pretty mean…duck face. I’m a master of the pout, because I don’t really love my open-mouthed smile. Trust me, I don’t (think) I look like a preteen who’s trying to hard. It’s just a subtle pout…

Maybe this isn't considered a duck face?

Maybe this isn’t considered a duck face?

12. I’m still mad…I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a meteorologist until I already started majoring in journalism. I’ve always loved weather, but I thought the news was calling me. Yeah…no. Even though I know a meteorology degree would be tough (because math is not my strong suit — at least not calculus), it would be more in line with what I want.

13. I met my best friend…when I was three years old. Yes, my BFF is my little sister. I have another best friend (the one I mentioned above) but my sister is my forever friend.

Love this lady.

Love this lady.

14. I always knew I wanted…to move away from home. I know a lot of people tend to stay pretty close to where they grew up. I always find it funny when people ask me why I moved to Oklahoma — like if I have relatives here or anything. Nope, it was just for a job and it’s been a pretty fun adventure so far. I don’t love my job but I do like my new city and I’m excited to keep exploring new cities and states. Who knows where I may end up!

15. I’m not afraid to…cry in front of people. I’m a pretty emotional girl (well, when I take things personally) and I usually keep it together, but I’m okay with crying if the situation calls for it. I don’t really cry in public per se, just in front of friends and family.

16. I make the best…raw desserts. I’ve given up on baking but I still have a sweet tooth so I try to tame it with homemade (okay…sometimes store bought) raw treats. They’re always pretty simple, but somehow taste incredible.

One of the best raw desserts I've made...the raw caramel pecan pie.

One of the best raw desserts I’ve made…the raw caramel pecan pie.

17. I have almost no…coordination. I used to be even more of a klutz (in college, I’d often trip on the sidewalk while walking to class!) but I still sometimes get the feeling I’m going to stumble and sometimes actually do. Not sure why this is but it can be a little embarrassing nearly tripping on a crack…or wiping out on a run (true story).

18. I always cry when…I’m frustrated and tired. Lately this has been happening related to work. And I don’t cry at work, just when I’m venting on the phone with my mom. Having an ever-changing schedule and crazy demands can be a little tiring.

19. I’m now…a new(ish) runner…but I hope to…build up my endurance. I keep having annoying minor injuries that really slow my progress and I’m still only able to run a couple of miles per day but every pain free run is a success in my book.

20. I spent four years…of high school dealing with disordered eating. I always say my ED began my freshman year, when I was in health class and learned about nutrition. For whatever reason, something clicked and I began to get obsessive over it. By junior year, I was full-blown anorexic and the rest of high school was a blur of starting recovery and not partaking in traditional high school things. I don’t really regret missing out, because college was so much better for me, but having an ED kind of changed things for me.

I may have never gone to the prom but I went to many father-daughter dances with my dad (and sister).

I may have never gone to the prom but I went to many father-daughter dances with my dad (and sister).

21. I wish my folks…would be more into healthy eating. I’m glad they’re willing to visit vegan restaurants with me, but I know that now that I’m not near them, their eating habits are more in line with most Americans. They’re not horribly unhealthy, but they could always be better and I wish I knew how to encourage them to change without being pushy.

22. At age 5, I was deeply in love with…Beanie Babies, plastic snakes (don’t ask!) and re-enacting the Winnie the Pooh books with my dad. Typical kid, right 😉

I also loved dance recitals.

I also loved dance recitals.

23. I believe if everyone…considered how their actions affect others…the world would be a better place. Enough said!

24. I can’t stand…humidity. The sticky feeling, the weird smell, how wet it makes everything. It’s all so gross.

25. Whenever…Friends…is on, I’ll watch. That and Seinfeld are my two favorite ‘classic’ TV shows.

What things did you love when you were 5? What’s a food you could eat every day?

Feeling 22

Wow, where does the time go? I hate saying it because it’s such a cliche, but I can’t believe it’s August. Mostly because that means my birthday has come and gone…and I guess it’s time to talk about it!

The last four days of my birthday week were the best four days I’ve had in awhile. My family drove 10+ hours each way from Colorado to spend 5 days with me and I had so much fun. I honestly would not have wanted to spend my birthday any other way. And yes, I am feeling 22 😉

I don’t want to bore you with long descriptions of what went down (and believe me, I could go on and on) but I’ll just share some highlights of each day through pictures.

Thursday

My last day of work before an extended  (4 day) weekend. I spent the afternoon running errands, treating myself to an amazing green smoothie and getting my place ready for the fam. Once they got here, we went out to eat at Freebirds, a Chipotle-like place.

This stuff is worth the $7 price tag -- local and DELICIOUS.

This stuff is worth the $7 price tag — local and DELICIOUS.

 

Friday

Running some errands in the morning, pool time and then getting ready for the main event: Center of the Universe. I was SO excited for this alt rock music festival. It was freakin’ hot but Fitz and the Tantrums were incredible, 21 Pilots was also pretty cool (AWOLNATION was there too but we left during their set) and the falafel I got for dinner was amazing.

Getting ready for Fitz with my sissy.

Getting ready for Fitz with my sissy.

High-tech wristbands.

High-tech wristbands.

Watching local act Fiawna Forte from afar.

Watching local act Fiawna Forte from afar.

"Street" falafel, cucumber salad, spicy mango sauce, hummus and cabbage slaw for dinner in the hot hot sun.

“Street” falafel, cucumber salad, spicy mango sauce, hummus and cabbage slaw for dinner in the hot hot sun.

Right next to the famous Cain's ballroom.

Right next to the famous Cain’s ballroom.

The main attraction: Fitz and the Tantrums! So amazing live :)

The main attraction: Fitz and the Tantrums! So amazing live 🙂

 

Saturday

Pool time was a big theme for the day, as well as buying some fun apartment decorations for me. We did some tourist-y sightseeing around town at some landmarks. Dinner was at a taco place downtown — I got some tasty fried avocado tacos with black beans and these delicious roasted sweet potatoes. And then some Netflix and games at my apartment with the fam.

Pretty flowers on a tree.

Pretty flowers on a tree.

Largest praying hands in the world on the campus of ORU.

Largest praying hands in the world on the campus of ORU.

The Golden Driller.

The Golden Driller.

The real Center of the Universe, for which the music festival was named. It's a spot in the middle of a bridge where your voice echoes in a really cool way.

The real Center of the Universe, for which the music festival was named. It’s a spot in the middle of a bridge where your voice echoes in a really cool way.

Sunday

The big day! I really wanted to go for a hike, so we hit Turkey Mountain in the morning for a quick hike with some great views of the city. More pool time since it was so hot and then getting ready for dinner at Laffa, a cool Mediterranean place downtown. I finally got the sweet potato fries I’ve been craving for months! And for the birthday dessert, we stopped at Whole Foods (of course) and then celebrated back home with a few presents (think owl-themed stuff mostly) and games…and more pool time.  

Awww, love this sign.

Awww, love this sign.

Love this view.

Love this view.

My "I need to go hiking more" face.

My “I need to go hiking more” face.

Getting ready for the big birthday dinner.

Getting ready for the big birthday dinner.

Sister selfie.

Sister selfie.

This was called "Forbidden Fruit" and it was incredible. It tasted like fruit punch but it wasn't artificial at all and had some kind of hibiscus-infused vodka in it.

This was called “Forbidden Fruit” and it was incredible. It tasted like fruit punch but it wasn’t artificial at all and had some kind of hibiscus-infused vodka in it.

My dinner spread. Laffa flatbread (which I LOVED, even though it wasn't GF), harissa carrots, cabbage slaw, red pepper hummus and TONS of unpictured sweet potato fries stolen from my dad.

My dinner spread. Laffa flatbread (which I LOVED, even though it wasn’t GF), harissa carrots, cabbage slaw, red pepper hummus and TONS of unpictured sweet potato fries stolen from my dad.

Feeling 22!

Feeling 22!

These candles were too cute to throw away!

These candles were too cute to throw away!

Monday

I was dreading this day because it was the last full day my family was here. But it was a blast! We went to the zoo and literally spent 4 or 5 hours wandering around checking out all the animals and exhibits. It was basically the biggest zoo I’ve ever been to! I got to see tons of my favorite animal — flamingos! And then it was off to a sushi place for dinner (I found a new go-to). 

Really colorful fish.

Really colorful fish.

Polka dotted lizard.

Polka dotted lizard.

My favorite <3

My favorite ❤

This giraffe totally devoured those trees.

This giraffe totally devoured those trees.

My kind of place.

My kind of place.

What’s your favorite zoo animal? What do you like doing for your birthday? 

My Food Biography

The credit for this post goes to the lovely Kaila, who always has the most creative post ideas! She shared her food biography recently, and it inspired me to think back about what meals have become memorable over the years. I’m going to be sharing 10, but I thought of a lot more!

You can read more about the idea behind a food biography here, but I think it’s a really cool idea. Food is such an important part of our lives, from the social aspect of it to the fact that it’s necessary to sustain life. For me, my food biography isn’t necessarily my favorite foods, since those change all the time, but rather is the foods I most associate with certain memories.

  • Einstein Bros. bagels with cream cheese (specifically the asiago and chocolate chip flavors)

Growing up, on some Saturday mornings my dad would wake up early and grab us bagels from Einstein Bros. Getting to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal was such a treat. I remember leisurely mornings around the table with my family, newspaper spread out (we’re big newspaper readers!) and enjoying either a chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese or an asiago bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. They had the best ‘shmear’ flavors and paired with the doughy bagel, it was just bliss. I haven’t had a bagel in years (major fear food) but I remember this special childhood treat.

  • Soy chocolate gelato at Gelazzi
One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi--the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi–the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

When I first tried gelato (sometime in early HS) I was hooked. Even when froyo became a big thing a few years later, I stuck with gelato. We had one or two local places, but when I went on a college tour of the college I ended up going to, my dad and I just had to try Gelazzi, the gelato place in that town. I remember ordering the soy chocolate gelato and absolutely falling in love. That moment is significant for me because at the time of my college visit, I had recently started recovering from anorexia. I still feared most foods, and going out to eat was really hard for me. The fact that I could order gelato, a dessert, and enjoy it was huge. Since that first experience, me and my family have returned many times to Gelazzi and I’m sad that I can’t go there anymore since I moved away. P.S. Gelato is the reason why I’m only 99% vegan!

  • Teriyaki steak on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, my mom made teriyaki steak for dinner. Basically it was flank steak marinated in a teriyaki sauce with lots of green onions. There was a brief time during my childhood that I was obsessed with steak (as long as it was well-done) and I always looked forward to this dinner. Even though I don’t eat steak anymore and I don’t plan on it ever, this meal just reminds me of Christmas Eve–going to church with my family, coming home and enjoying this meal, and then reading Christmas stories before going to bed early.

I’m so thankful my dad took the time to cook meals with me when I started getting interested in cooking. We’ve cooked together many times, but this one sticks out to me in particular. I’ve actually since made vegan eggplant muffulettas with him as well! I remember going to the store and picking out fancy olives and good bread and then coming home and making the sandwiches on the panini press. I enjoyed picking out a recipe with him, getting a little cooking lesson and then getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  • Chili lime pasta

Another mom-made meal that I became obsessed with. When a Williams-Sonoma came to our city, my mom would always take me there to browse all the cool kitchen stuff. One time she found this chili-lime seasoning, thought it sounded good, and bought it. She used it on grilled chicken I think, but what I remember most was her chili-lime pasta. Basically it was a sauce made of olive oil and the seasoning with grilled shrimp, grilled peppers and pasta all tossed together. It was really simple but totally delicious and satisfying.

  • Snack plates
So much good stuff.

So much good stuff.

I still enjoy these to this day, but I was first introduced to them when my family would go camping. We camped a lot during the summers (something I really miss) and on Saturday (and Sunday if it was a 3 day weekend) we would always have snack plates for lunch. I always called it ‘feast’ because it really was–we would have stuff like crackers, veggies, cheese, summer sausage and fruit–and just enjoy a random sampling of it for lunch. Now I always crave a bunch of different flavors, so I still love snack plates for snacks and meals.

  • Root beer popsicles 

Popsicles were my jam in the summers growing up! I always ate the Popsicle brand, since it had the best flavors. Anybody else remember those firecracker pops? Now they have a whole bunch of crazy varieties like Jolly Rancher and Yosicles but when I was a kid, there were just the classics. And my favorite was by far the root beer one that came in the variety pack with banana and lemon lime. I remember the jokes written on the popsicle stick and eating them out on the porch with my little sister on hot days.

  • Jelly Bellies on Christmas

Another Christmas tradition in my family was Jelly Bellies. So random! But one year for whatever reason, we bought Jelly Bellies as a stocking stuffer and the idea stuck. I remember going to Target with my dad and sister a week before Christmas and filling our bags from the different flavored bins. And then my sister and I would tear into our bags on Christmas morning and eat Jelly Bellies before breakfast 😛 They were one of my favorite candies, and I was obsessed with certain flavors, like the strawberry cheesecake and orange creamsicle.

  • Mini cereal boxes

This was another camping staple. My family has always been a cold-cereal-for-breakfast bunch, and when we went camping, that didn’t change. But my mom would give in and let us have those fun, sugary kids cereals (we normally ate healthier cereals like Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats). My sister and I would fight over the Lucky Charms and the Cocoa Puffs and the Trix and leave the boring Honey Smacks and Corn Pops to our parents 😉

  • Hummus pizza at Poppy’s
So. Good.

So. Good.

After our camping days came to an end, we made an annual trip to Estes Park for a week spent in a cabin–by a pool, in the mountains, hiking and of course, enjoying the local restaurants. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world–I’m going to miss going there every summer but I hope I can eventually make it back there more regularly. Anyways, on our first night, we’d always go out to eat at Poppy’s, a pizza place by the river. We always sat outside, listening to the sounds of the river and live music. When I was younger, I’d get weird pizzas with shrimp and green olives (seriously, they had so many topping options) and then for a year or two during the height of my ED, I ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich because I was scared of pizza, but after that time, my go-to order was the hummus pizza, which happened to be vegan (even before I was vegan). The dough was perfectly soft and chewy and the right thickness. The hummus was homemade and super creamy. The olives and the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts and the spinach were matched perfectly and made it the best pizza I’ve ever had. Last summer when we were in Estes, I tried to order it and they said they’d gotten rid of it 😦 So unfortunately, the pizza legend does not live on. But I still remember how good it was, and how much I enjoyed just being in that beautiful place.

What foods would be in your ‘food biography’?

Currently: January

I’m writing this post from my tablet since my laptop decided to freak out on me and not turn on. All I gotta say is, thank God this didn’t happen last year when I had to write papers and I’m also glad I got a bluetooth keyboard for Christmas. It makes post-writing on a tablet a little easier!

Current Book: Ha, me read books? When I’m not in school anymore? I’ve been taking a much-needed hiatus from all books since finals week but maybe in a few months I’ll relearn how to read for pleasure!

Current Music: I’m back on the alt music train after Christmas. I’m really loving Tennis Court by Lorde. Yes, I know everyone’s still gaga over Royals, but lets be honest, that song came out on Alt Nation last summer and was only recently picked up by the masses. I prefer some of her lesser known songs.

Current Guilty Pleasure: So Delicious brand no sugar added chocolate coconut-milk ice cream. I know, I know, who says sugar free ice cream is a ”guilty pleasure”? Honestly, it’s not really other than the fact that it costs $6/pint at Whole Foods and is sweetened with erythritol (which is better than most fake sweeteeners). Really though, it tastes like the fudgsicles from my childhood and who wouldn’t want that?

Current Nail Color: Actually not the color I’m wearing now (that would be Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific blue) but before this, they were an OPI red covered with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear gold glitter.

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Perfect for Christmas!

Current Drink: Waterrrrr. How boring can I get?

Current Food: Homemade PB&J and protein raisinet (raisins+chocolate protein powder+cocoa powder) balls, grain free vegan pizza, romain lettuce+dates, raw jalapeno sunflower seeds from bulk bins at Whole Foods, eggplant, peanut butter+melted coconut oil.

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This is way better than delivery!

Current TV Show: The Newsroom, as usual. My dad and I only have one more episode of the 1st season left on Netflix 😦 Then we have to wait awhile til season 2 comes out on DVD.

Current Celebrity Crush: Mila Kunis. She looked stunning at the Golden Globes (when does she not?) and she’s always an amazing actress, whether in funny movies like Ted or more serious ones like Black Swan. Plus I love her voice–it makes me feel less self-conscious for havng a low(er) voice.

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So gorg!

Current Wishlist: More blazers (I have a newfound obsession with work-appropriate AND cute clothes), more money left on my iTunes giftcard so I can buy more songs I’ve been wanting for awhile, for it to be spring already (I’m already sick of winter and we haven’t even gotten it that bad yet), for my doctor’s appointment next month to be helpful (there is probably some serious underlying issue that will explain my skin problems/digestive woes/lack of period for almost 9 months).

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I have an addiction...to clothes shopping!

Current Triumphs: Keeping up with applying to jobs (more on that below), trying to reconnect with my sister (we got in a huge fight last week and I’ve been trying to show her how much I care
about her, even if she doesn’t have time for me right now), working on feeling confident in myself in various ways.

Current Bane of Existence: Not hearing back yet from ANY of the jobs I’ve applied to. I know it’s only been a few weeks or even days for some of them (the first application was sent out on December 28) but I dunno, I was expecting to at least hear something, at least confirmation that the stations I applied to received my resume/cover letter. My dad said it may take a few MONTHS to even hear anything, which is discouraging. I’m going to keep plugging away though and applying to at least 3 TV stations each week. I’m just so impatient–I want a job NOW!

Current Outfit: This was actually from when I went shopping in Denver with my mom this past weekend. The sweater is new, from Christmas, and I love the slightly cropped length and lace detail. The jeggings are my new favorite, black, from American Eagle and scored for only $13!

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Monochromatic but still cute.

What are some of your currentlies?

Happiness

What is happiness? I think it means different things for everyone, but there are some universal things that make most of us happy in some way or another. With that, I’m sharing a fun little list Emily posted the other day…feel free to repost with your own answers!

8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have 

  • A go-to drink: For me, it’s sangrias (love the white wine versions especially), cider on the rocks (I had a really good one a few weeks ago) and homemade margs. And for daily drinks, water always.
  • A go-to karaoke song: Anything Lady Gaga. Her songs just pump me up like no other.
  • A uniform: colored skinny jeans (especially burgundy), faux leather jacket, riding boots, statement necklace or loop scarf
  • A hair stylist they love: I’ve switched stylists a lot over the years, so I’m going to change this one to hair style. I love my hair in big curls with full bangs.
  • An exercise routine: At home workouts 7 days per week, with some walking thrown in as well.
  • A hobby: Grocery/clothes shopping, blogging, yoga, cooking.
  • A best friend: my sister, always and forever. And at the moment, a really close friend I’ve made through working together and having classes together. I’m going to miss her a LOT when I graduate but we’re hoping someday we end up at the same TV station!
  • A healthy sense of self: I feel like I’ve really grown a lot in the past year. Maybe it’s partly because I’m almost a college grad (scary!) but I’ve been maturing and becoming more independent and focusing less on things I used to freak out about. I can’t say I don’t worry about things anymore, but I’m trying to let life happen and just being okay with whatever comes my way. And I’m excited for the future.
Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

What makes YOU happy? 

Forever 21

Finally 21. I usually don’t feel different on my birthday, but this year I did. I feel more mature, more independent. Not just because I can legally drink but also because I’m just a few months away from graduating college. It almost feels like yesterday that I started college as a scared little freshman, and now I’m about to embark on my adult life. Weird.

21 was a birthday I’ve only really looked forward to in the past year or so. Before that, I vowed I would never drink–because the few sips I sampled of my parents’ drinks tasted gross to me. That’s not to say that now I’m 21 I’m going to become a crazy partier. I have no desire to get drunk or drink cheap alcohol. I would much rather sip a glass of white wine while watching a movie at home, or enjoy a fun cocktail at a fancy restaurant.

I did drink on my 21st, but my birthday was more than just about the alcohol. This birthday marked the last time (most likely) I’ll be living at home to celebrate. It’s bittersweet looking back on the past 21 birthdays (obviously the first few I don’t remember)–going to waterparks on my birthday, spending it by the pool in the mountains, watching the Summer Olympics, always going out to eat with my family/friends. I’m going to miss this part of my life.

As I said, my 21st was a lot more than being able to drink in a restaurant–which I definitely did, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started the day as usual–waking up, checking my phone, enjoying some sweet potato-Sunwarrior-banana softserve with homemade magic shell (hey, had to make it special for my birthday!) and getting ready. I did wake up still sick, with a still-sore throat and irritated eyes, but I’m sick of letting little things ruin my day, so I’m really glad I didn’t let lingering sick feelings make my birthday less than special. And what made it that much more special was the decorations I found once I got downstairs. My parents have always been great about making our birthdays feel fun, no matter what we end up doing, and I’m really grateful for that!

bday decos

Starbucks and shopping were on the agenda…with none other than my sister! Even though we’re really different, we have a lot of things in common–namely our love for the ‘bucks, shopping for clothes (especially at Forever 21), Whole Foods salad bar and alt rock music. All of which we enjoyed together on my birthday 😀 I’m seriously gonna miss that girl when I graduate and I still can’t believe she’s just a year away from college herself! Anyways, we had the best time drinking iced coffees, yelling at stupid drivers, finding the perfect things to buym laughing at the dumbest things and marveling at the giant Whole Foods we ate lunch at.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making my own birthday dessert. I’d never done that before, but I really wanted to make something that my family and I could all enjoy together. I went with this raw coffee cheesecake and it.was.delicious. My dad even said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and he’s a total dessert freak! It’s definitely a great dessert to make for raw vegans and non-raw vegans alike, especially if you love coffee. Aaaaaaaand…I got to enjoy a piece for two nights afterwards, so a total winner!

Dinner was what I was looking forward to all day though (other than shopping obviously!) I’d been wanting to go to a tapas place in town since I’d heard they had lot of vegan options, and the fact that they’re 100% gluten free was icing on the cake. I wasn’t sure if my family’d like it, especially my sister who’s pretty picky and likes typical teen food, but they loved it just as much as I did!

Tapas are basically small dishes generally in a Mediterranean or Spanish style that are meant to be shared with others. I’d never had tapas before but since I love eating little bits of a lot of different things (and Mediterranean food!) I knew I’d like it. My family got some dishes with meat or cheese, but I was still able to try a lot of the things we got, like warm olives (love olives!), fresh garlic bread (the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and GF too!), patatas bravas, artichoke and onion salad and a gazpacho ‘shooter’. Everything was so fresh and tasty–definitely my kinda place. And their sangria was amazing as well. We got two carafes–one was the sangria del dia, which was pineapple orange with white wine and my personal favorite, and the other was a traditional blood orange sangria with white wine. I got carded (of course) but I loved the experience of being able to enjoy a quality drink in a nice atmosphere. And sangria is now my favorite drink!

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

But the best surprise of the night was when our waiter found out it was my birthday and he let me pick out a dessert for free. I had already made a dessert for us at home, but the chocolate tasting plate sounded too good to pass up, so I ended up sharing that with everyone. It was basically 8 small squares of dark chocolate ranging from 65-85% cacao and it was paired with some blueberries and Marcona almonds. It was some good chocolate, and it went really well with the berries and almonds. So glad I went for the dessert instead of opting out just because I had dessert already planned!

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

Back at home, I opened presents and then we had my birthday cake cheesecake. A few of my presents were total surprises, like the denim shirtdress and Zoku pop maker, but everything I got was something I’ve been wanting for awhile. You know you’re a foodie when you get excited for a popsicle maker and vegetable peelers 😉 And the raw ‘cookbook’ has some really delicious looking recipes so hopefully I can share some with you guys soon! The purse and clothes will also get a lot  of use–this girl can never have too many purses or outfits!

My birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had, and it wasn’t just because I got presents I loved or because I could finally order a drink in a restaurant. It was more about the memories I made with my family and the happiness I got from being able to enjoy one last birthday with them.

What made your last birthday special? What’s your ultimate birthday dessert? 

Sunday Survey

Just popping in with a little survey I found from Kaila! Thanks for the tag, girl!

A: Attached or single?

Single, at the moment. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship before, and it does feel weird to say that as an almost 21-year-old, but I just haven’t found the right guy yet. And right now, I want to focus on graduating school and starting my career…but I won’t say no if something comes up!

B: Best friend?

Definitely my little sister. She’s not so little anymore since she’s starting her senior year of high school (and she’s taller than me…) but we’ve been pretty close since we were younger and I’m really going to miss not seeing her as often once we both graduate.

I love this girl!

I love this girl!

C: Cake or pie?

I don’t really love either one (I prefer frozen desserts) but I’m going to cheat and say my raw cheesecake. It’s technically a cross between cake and pie and it’s so rich without being overwhelming, plus it’s totally plant based!

D: Day of choice?

I would say Friday because I had Fridays off from school last semester, as well as during this upcoming semester, and it’s a great day to relax AND get things done before the weekend officially kicks off.

E: Essential item?

My smartphone. I’m not rich cool enough to have an iPhone, but my Android is almost as good, and I bring it with me basically everywhere.

F: Favorite color?

Going to go the totally cliche girly route here and say pink. But I prefer hot pink to light pink, like this pink Kia Soul that I literally almost got last year! My parents and I were looking for a car for me to use at school and we were originally looking at late model small SUVs including a pink Soul they had at one dealership, but then I ended up with Alejandro (aka the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe we owned).

IT'S PINK!

IT’S PINK!

G: Gummy bears or worms?

Don’t eat ’em as a vegan, but I used to kinda like the clear gummy bears, and sour gummy worms were the best kind. But honestly, my favorite gummy candy was Gummy Lifesavers!

H: Home town?

Phoenix, AZ baby! I hope to live there/near there again someday!

I: Favorite indulgence?

Shopping sprees, whether clothing or food. Last year for my birthday, I opted out of presents so I could go shopping in Denver all day. It was a dream come true for this shopaholic 😀

Shopping is so fun!

Shopping is so fun!

J: January or July?

July for many reasons: Independence Day, my birthday (the 27th), the amazing weather.

K: Kids?

I would like to have twins someday, but I’m definitely considering adoption just because so many kids need a loving home and the whole idea of pregnancy freaks me out a bit.

L: Life isn’t complete without…?

My family. I’m excited to move out on my own and have my own life, but I can’t live without keeping in touch with my family. I’m so thankful I went to college in-state because I appreciated the distance I had, but also liked being able to come home once or twice a month.

M: Marriage date?

Uh…none? I want to get married, but it’s definitely not in the cards right now.

N: Number of siblings?

One younger sister, who’s 17.

O: Oranges or Apples?

Neither are my favorite fruit, but I have to go with oranges. To me, they’re more thirst-quenching and I love an orange slice in my water or iced tea.

P: Phobias?

One super weird phobia I have is with styrofoam. I’ve had this fear since I was little, and it’s more like a squeamish feeling than anything. I can’t stand when people touch styrofoam anything and I always have to have someone else take things out of styrofoam boxes while I’m in another room!

Q: Quotes?

I love funny quotes, especially this one I just found from Jim Carrey: “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” Classic!

R: Reasons to smile?

Sunshine, amazing in-season produce, spending time with my family, singing along to songs while driving, having an awesome workout, getting all the green lights, people that go out of their way to care about others.

Fresh fruit is the best.

Fresh fruit is the best.

S: Season of choice?

It is and always will be summer. Right now it’s because it’s my birthday season, but I also love having summers ‘off’. Plus the weather is just unbeatable, and the fruit is amazing.

T: Tag 5 people…

Aja

P

Kat

Hannah

Kendra

U: Unknown fact about me?

I used to have an obsession with crutches. My best friend was accident prone and was on crutches a lot for sprained ankles, but I never got to use crutches, even when I fractured my ankle in 4th grade. I used to put paper casts and make crutches out of pencils for my stuffed animals and pretend they were injured. I was a weird child…

V: Vegetable?

Why don’t I just name the ones I don’t like? I’m not a fan of beets, tomatoes (technically a fruit but still a veggie to me), most squash (I know, what kind of blogger am I, but I realized that I prefer sweet potatoes to most sweet squash), green beans, celery and most mushrooms. I like or love most other veggies though!

W: Worst habit?

Ripping off my nails when they get too long (and then I hate that they’re so short…um, duh!), charging my phone too often (I hate when the battery level goes below 70%), saying ‘like’ and ‘um when I get nervous…

X: X-rays or ultrasounds?

I’ve only had x-rays done, but I’ve had quite a few, from teeth to ankles to my left wrist.

Y: Your favorite food?

This is way harder than it seems. One of my favorites at the moment is watermelon. Especially straight from the fridge, eaten with my hands, juice dripping all over. Summer perfection.

Z: Zodiac sign?

Leo! Some characteristics of my sign don’t quite fit me, but I am stylish (and a bit vain), I am somewhat insecure and I have a need for outside approval.

Answer any of the above!