Veganism // When, Why & How

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just recently became a full Vegan! I’ve been eating a mostly Vegan diet until now but as of September 1st, I am fully committed to eating a clean and responsible diet.

Here are the videos I watched prior to making my decision:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VrZPBskpg

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4HJcq8qHAY

3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K36Zu0pA4U

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_UpyY2MIOc

(I was linked to these through Essena O’Neill’s video Tips For Vegan Beginners)

There are three main reasons that I chose to commit to Veganism:

#1: Moral Reasons

The first reason that I stopped eating or using animal products to the best of my ability was moral. I basically spent an entire afternoon and evening watching informative videos about slaughterhouses. The places shown in the videos were considered “humane” and as soon as I saw that, I knew I could not support it. The videos were graphic, but I think it’s important to know what you’re paying to support. Every decision we make, including what we choose to nourish our bodies with, is based on a set of beliefs.

#2: Health Reasons

I have suffered from a lack of energy and a general feeling of being bloated from consuming all of these foods. I’m lactose intolerant, and before I knew the background of where we get milk and how it affects animals it was difficult to let go of dairy products. Dairy is actually the worst for your body out of all the foods Veganism cuts out.

#3: Positivity

This ties in with health and morality, but when I eat a Vegan diet, I’m way happier! It’s so simple.

Finally, the HOW. I spent a lot of time telling myself Veganism would be too hard and too expensive. But my grocery list is way cheaper, and I’m still just as lazy as I was…without all the bloating! I am definitely not a health specialist, so by all means, do your own research. There are tons of helpful YouTube videos that really break it down. That being said, here is what a day of eating everything at home usually looks like for me:

Breakfast:

-Smoothie Bowls, Oatmeal or Granola with almond milk

-Fruit and seeds on top (flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds…)

Lunch:

-Crunchmaster multi-seed crackers

-Red pepper hummus

-Coconut water or juice

Dinner: (I have to admit, most nights I’ve ordered pizza so far. This guide to ordering Vegan at normal delivery chains is a life saver!)

-Curried Tofu (I get it by the pound from Jimbo’s and keep it in my fridge. It’s cheap and delicious!) or spaghetti with marinara

-Dark leafy greens…I usually eat them straight up, but if that grosses you out you can put them on a pizza or blend them into your pasta sauce!
These meals are no more difficult than anything I was making before!

If you have any delicious, quick and easy Vegan meals up your sleeve, email me at brewingvodkatea@gmail.com and share them with me!

xox

Bec

Oregon and the Central Coast // Better Late Than Never!

If you know me, you know that I love to go on road trips up the coast…especially when they start or end with Portland! Okay, maybe Portland is not by the coast, but how could I resist? Two of my favorite places in one trip.

I’ve been promising these photos for a week, so here they finally are!

Silverton, OR

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Powell’s Book Store in Portland (!!!!!!!)

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Downtown Portland

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Multnomah Falls (Gresham, OR)

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Big Sur, CA (near McWay Falls)

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There are a thousand more photos, but these were my most memorable moments. Tag me in your summer adventures!!

xox

Bec

It’s Tuesday! // Summer Snacking + Midweek Rambles

Hey there! I’m sorry about the low quality banners. I am trying something new and I’m still working out all the little issues so hopefully I can figure out something better soon! Thanks for your patience!

It’s piping hot out and I’m feeling under the weather, so here I sit in Starbucks desperately trying to draft blog posts to make up for how far behind I have gotten and, of course, dreaming of cloudy days. Since I’m feeling so sick and couldn’t shoot anything new, I decided to post the recipe for my favorite Summer salad.

I shared this recipe recently on my Instagram but here it is in more depth:

Ingredients:

-Spinach

-Berries (I like to use strawberries and sometimes blueberries!)

-Nuts (I use almonds)

-Goat cheese

-Lemon juice (we also have a lemon dijon dressing where I work and I use that occasionally, you can definitely play around with this!)

-Optional: grilled chicken or fish

Directions:

Make sure you wash your fruit and veggies! I usually use a small handful of spinach, but you can decide that based on how hungry you are. Lay the goat cheese next. I use a generous amount of goat cheese because I think that the goat cheese mixed with the fruit is what makes this salad so stinkin amazing, but again, it can totally vary based on preference! Lay the berries in or around the goat cheese to get them to sort of stick to one another. (Note: the berries that you choose determine the flavor of the salad. I almost always use strawberries [cut into fourths] but blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all work well on their own or together in this recipe.) Then fill all your little blank patches of spinach with the nuts. Toss with the lemon juice (I don’t use very much at all) and dig in!

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of hiding and writing. I take my journal (from SoLo in Solana Beach…I’m absolutely in love with it! I’ll post photos soon!) to a coffee shop or cafe and sit by myself writing whatever I want. Sometimes I write two lines, sometimes I write twenty pages. I’m really loving it! I’m going to start a tag (on Instagram) with a line from my journal each time I do this called #BecBabbles. If you like to journal like me, join in on the fun!! Tag your journal posts with BecBabbles and I’ll repost my favorites. Hopefully as my following grows, so will this tag. I’m really excited to hear what people have to say!

Things in my life have been changing at a rapid page over the last few months, and this week one of the biggest changes occurred in my personal life and it’s lead me to set a lot of goals for myself. Some of these include eating more whole foods and listening to my body (avoiding dairy and grains…eek!) and getting out on my own to journal more. This week I’m going to get up earlier than usual and try designating this as my journal time.

That’s all for now, friends!

xox

Bec

It’s Friday! // Instagram + Places in Portland

Happy Friday! I woke up (at an ungodly hour) this morning dreaming of my favorite city. I spent about a half an hour looking back through my photos from my last trip up and realized I want to do something with them! I am not by any means a Portland tour guide (I only just started touring the city last spring), but I’m super excited to show you one place at a time that I really loved. I’m going back up on August 10th, so these will probably be popping up a couple times a week.

Salt & Straw is a unique chain of ice cream shops that began in Portland and has recently launched in LA. Their special flavors (such as Honey Lavender, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, and the classic Arbequina Olive Oil) and hip, modern atmosphere draw people in.

More info on Salt & Straw:

How it all began

Flavors

Even if you don’t really care about the story of it all, I would recommend checking out the website because it’s adorable.

I didn’t get that many photos while I was there and I didn’t get ANY inside (why?!?!?!?) but I’m going to share a few shots from outside. And yes, I did basically do a whole shoot just because of how beautiful my ice cream was…which brings me to the Instagram portion of this post! I get a lot of questions about Instagram which is always a little surprising because I don’t have much of a following, so I thought I would talk a little bit about photo content.

Utilizing Walls

When you’re in the city this one really comes in handy. The first way to do this is, of course, to just stand in front of it and smile. This one is classic but not obnoxious or overdone.

And then there’s the thing plus wall strategy as pictured:

No matter what, interesting walls are your best friend. Let me know what YOUR favorite spots in Portland are for my next trip up!

xox

Bec

San Juan Capistrano // #WhatBeccaWore and Traveling

all photos taken by Amanda Parsons (heyamandalane.wordpress.com and @heymananda on IG)

So I know I JUST did a #WhatBeccaWore but I’m just so excited about this last shopping trip and I was up in San Juan Capistrano to see family last night and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to shoot this. We had a fun family dinner and of course a little exploring and shooting! Wherever we are we like to drive to the top of parking garages and sit on our car and get a bird’s eye view of the city!

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Dress: Urban Outfitters // Clearance $19.99 (I don’t think it’s available online anymore)

Boots: H&M // $34.99

xox

Bec

Side note: My cousin Jilly, who is currently visiting from Australia, is a crazy inspiring world traveler. She travels in tour groups to places like Croatia and Dubai and lives simply in order to pay for it all. Everyone was talking about that last night and my mom brought up the old saying: “You can either have things or do things.”

#WhatBeccaWore // It’s Monday!

So if you follow my Instagram you know that I did a little bit of shopping this past week (whoops!). I’ve been super excited about the things I bought so I decided to do a little #WhatBeccaWore with my outfit today! I’m heading up north a little later tonight and hopefully I’ll get to shoot in the rest of what I bought.

DSC_0012 DSC_0014 DSC_0037 DSC_0038SHOP WHAT’S PICTURED:

Top: H&M // Approx. $15 (The pattern I have isn’t on the website but I saw it in the store the other day so maybe it was discontinued?)

Pants: H&M // Approx. $17

Boots: H&M // Approx. $35

Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters // Approx. $18

xox

Bec

PS This was shot outside of Living Spaces, a Southern California furniture store that I’m absolutely in love with. Manda and I go there a solid 3-4 times a week to walk around and look for inspiration and daydream. If you live in Southern California, I would definitely recommend that you check out Living Spaces even if you’re not looking to immediately buy anything!

Cafe Chatter // How to be a Perfect Customer

Hi again! I know this post may seem like a passive aggressive followup from some kind of bad experience with a customer, but it’s really not. It’s more a response to the discomfort I’ve noticed in customers who don’t know how to carry themselves in the cafe! If you struggle with social anxiety in any way, you understand how it feels to be nervous just to go out to eat. I feel a little weird posting this because I don’t want it to come across the wrong way, but it’s meant to be a way to feel confident that you aren’t a difficult customer.

In order to feel at ease in a cafe you’ve never been to before, there are three major things you should keep in mind.

1: You are not putting anyone out. Customers are our priority. However, you are not always the only customer. So if you notice that there’s a worker behind the counter but they seem to be ignoring you, you’re most likely on their radar, but they’re working on getting things done in the right order.

2: Notice whether or not there is a tray above the trash cans. In the cafe I work at, we just have trash cans set out, but there isn’t anything set out to help you bus your table. If there isn’t a tray for this, you should leave your plate. Bringing your plates up to the bar when you’re finished may feel polite, but it usually sets the system off balance. Cleaning your own table may leave that table unwashed for the next set of customers, and sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up with a messy bar. Rule of thumb: if you can’t bus it yourself, don’t try.

3: Don’t try to comfort workers about the long wait. If a server apologizes about a long wait, a simple “oh, that’s okay,” goes a lot further than a “Oh no it’s totally fine you guys are way understaffed, I waited even longer at the place down the street…” One time, I forgot to make a drink and even though the customer was very polite about it, their friend was saying things like “you paid for it! Don’t feel bad!” and “This same thing happened to me at Taco Bell the other day. They made my order wrong THREE TIMES…” These sort of things do not set you up for good service.

And of course, don’t forget to tip!

xox,

Bec

PS this list is, of course, very server oriented rather than customer oriented, but this is just me letting you in on what seems like common courtesy to the people behind the counter. Don’t stress about ordering in a picky way, etc. I’ve never really heard anyone complain about custom orders. If we can’t make something a certain way, we’ll tell you, and if that upsets someone it really is an overreaction on their part and not yours!

4 Ways to be an Urban Explorer // Tackling Big Cities

Hi friends! Things have been very hectic in my life, as always, but today, my sister and I had the same day off (hip, hip, hooray!) and were able to do some exploring. We decided we would take the Coaster down from suburban San Diego into the downtown area and spend some time just walking around experiencing parts of San Diego we’ve sort of neglected. I’m always surprised how much more there is to my city than what Manda and I have explored because it feels like we’ve gone everywhere, but today, everything felt completely foreign to me. There was a very unique crowd of hundreds of thousands of people visiting for Comic Con on top of the regular weekend/summer hustle and bustle, and I realized how little time I’ve spent in the Gas Lamp district, which is arguably the heart of the city.

But the truth is, sometimes exploring feels like a whole lot of work. The more chaotic my life gets, the more likely I am to stick to all my same coffee shops and book stores and restaurants instead of branching out into the unknown where (God forbid) I might not immediately find parking. So without further ado, here are four ways to make the city a little less scary:

1. Utilize public transit. Even if you don’t mind paying for parking, driving in the city is just plain stressful, especially if you haven’t been driving in one your whole life. Either way, most cities have great public transit systems set up that will end up sort of being like a mini tour for you!

2. Research the area you’re going to. What’s highly rated? What do locals say is unmissable? Ask around when you get to the city. Even if you change your mind on where to go, you’ll still feel like you know what you’re doing. Make sure to research the communities within the city, too!

3. Or don’t. This is usually the way I go, but it isn’t necessarily a great plan if you are traveling or trying to get the most bang for your buck. But who knows…sometimes the best places are the hidden gems that you stumble upon!

4. Find a high place. Pretend to be a guest at a hotel and go to the top floor. Try and look professional in an office building and stare at your watch while you rush into an elevator. You’ll be glad you did.
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xox

Bec

Salvation Mountain // Leonard’s Life’s Work

Love is universal.

If you’re a California or Arizona native, you have probably heard of/been to Salvation Mountain, a permanent art instillation by Leonard Knight hidden in the depths of the low desert. We made the 4 hour journey out to the Calipatria/Niland area next to the Salton Sea and were completely amazed by what we found. In a slightly dismal desert area, Leonard’s work, created almost 100% by himself, is a giant mountain of bright colors and encouraging messages about love. The piece was created using local adobe clay and donations of paint from people far and near. When he appeared in the movie “Into the Wild,” Leonard spoke about being in awe of the love he receives from people internationally because of his art. The piece is categorized as “outsider art” and draws attention from people all over the world. Even in the blazing heat, we met many other people during our time there.

Anyway, I’m done rambling, so here are some photos from our adventure to Dr. Seuss land in the 110 degree heat:

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Leonard passed away last year, but since then, volunteer groups have been devoted to preserving the piece for future generations. If you want to learn more about Salvation Mountain and volunteer opportunities, here is there official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SalvationMountain

We spoke with some volunteers who were repairing part of the piece and they told us that despite all the different websites about Salvation Mountain, the Facebook page is the only official website they have.

xox

Bec

Alone Time (When You Don’t Like Alone Time) // Step by Step

Lately I’ve been so stressed out with work and finances and even my own health that I haven’t taken a second to just stop and breathe. Even though I’m not someone who loves to be alone every second of every day, I think everybody needs a little time to themselves for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, I think we need alone time to relax and to fall in love with ourselves!

So here is my recipe for productive alone time:

Step One: Take your time getting ready. Play some music, curl your hair, dress up a little (but keep it comfy!). You want to feel confident!

Step Two: Take the long way there. These are written obviously to suit me, and I love driving…so of course I’m going to choose PCH over the 5 when I’m taking time for myself!

Step Three: Go someplace peaceful. The photos in this post were taken at Roasting Works by Lofty, a small coffee shop full of neutral tones that usually isn’t crowded. And best of all, it’s inside of an art store!

Step Four: Order tea. Always. Even if your heart is crying out for coffee. (Okay, maybe not if your heart is crying out for coffee. But generally, green tea is going to make you feel a whole lot better than coffee will!)

Step Five: Plug in. Get going. Whatever activity you want to do, be it journaling, painting, reading; ready, set, go go go for a solid fifteen minutes. Don’t worry about the people around you. If you like to wear headphones when you’re out and about, this would be a good time to whip ’em out (Personally I’m paranoid that somebody is talking to me every second that I have headphones in…even when there isn’t music playing!). This is time for yourself. Try to keep off your phone. Everyone else can wait.

Step Six: Take some photos. But again, don’t spend a lot of time on your phone. For me, photos that I love of my life help me visualize where I’m at in a more positive light. If it’s not the same for you, maybe skip this step!

IMG_2355 IMG_2357 IMG_2363Of course, these are 300% tailored to my personal preferences. Try creating your own step by step guide to unwinding!

xoxxo,

Bec