Stay Vocal coupon over at Green Deals! Pick one up today!  »

Feel like spending money today on a sweet deal, supporting a vegan, green business? Of course you do! You love thrifty finds, and I have got your back on this one!

If you head on over to Green Deals, you’ll find an awesome special for one of my favorite Bay-Area-and-Massachusetts-based companies, Stay Vocal.  The deal is, if you spend $10, you’ll receive a voucher for $20 worth of merchandise! I recently bought a tote from Stay Vocal that I absolutely love, and I find Alex Eaves' mission as a Re-Use Pro very inspiring. It’s such a great company to support. Have you seen his new doggie bandanas? SO CUTE.

You gotta act fast, cause this deal ends in three days! But then the voucher doesn’t expire until November, so you’ve got time to pick out your re-used goodies!


JB’s summer vacation: Chicago, cupcakes, beauty, and bags!   »

Hey everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, on summer vacay if you will. I went to Chicago, Michigan, and my parent’s house out in the East Bay. All kinds of exciting things happened—I drank rum in the back of a pick-up truck at a wedding in Michigan (a wedding where vegan food was served! The bride loves me), I ate at The Handlebar AND Native Foods (OMG, I so get what the big deal about Native Foods is now!), and back in California, I made cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower! That was a really big deal, as it’s a huge step for my family to have the dessert be completely vegan!

Now that I’m back, I have all sorts of exciting things to share! First, for all you vegan beauty and fashion fiends out there, check out the blog Logical Harmony! I absolutely love this blog, and actually found it because Tashina is a huge fan of Source (where I spend most of my waking hours). She’s always taking the most fantastic pictures (via Instagram, like all the cool kids nerds) of our food there, as well as all things beauty related. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her lovely and informative blog!

A couple months ago, I bought a bag from Alex Eaves' company, Stay Vocal, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful, sturdy travel companion! His company is awesome (and he’s vegan!) because all of his apparel and bags are reused. For instance, my bag is an old MXPX tote, turned inside out with a Stay Vocal logo on it! At first I was like, “it’s going to be inside out? I don’t know about this…” but I love it! I highly recommend his stuff—the hippie in me digs his mission, plus it’s great quality. My bag reads “Reuse because you can’t recycle the planet,” and fellow “re-usetarians” are always beaming at me when they read it.

I also finally took the Vegansaurus new food challenge! It happened in July, but that’s me—always late to the party. I worked with jackfruit, making a dish similar to this one. I was inspired by the jackfruit sandwich that Rachel had in Colorado. I can’t wait to play with it some more, so I can post a recipe I’m super proud of. I’m stoked that jackfruit is a meat substitute of sorts (for carnitas or pulled pork) that is actually not processed flour, soy, or some other crazy combination of ingredients that tend to be hard to digest.

That’s it for now—I got a lot of posts to catch up on before the coffee wears off. 


Berkeley Vegan Earth Day is coming! Win some shit, if you want!  »

Berkeley Vegan Earth Day is holding a contest on Facebook to win some prizes! Free shit, hell yeah, etc. It’s pretty simple: Change your profile pic to the BVED logo for 24 hours, and comment on their page that you did so.* Read to the rules and see the logo here. Prizes include DVDs, vegan treats, water bottles, books, and shirts, and the contest ends on Friday, April 20.

Are you planning on attending? I went last year, and it was intense! But, in a good way! I wasn’t sure what to expect and my mind was blown, by both the film (Call of Life) and speakers. Also making it a very special night for me — I tried Nacheez for the first time. I highly recommend going this year; it looks like a blast!

The official promo manager of BVED, Alex Eaves, sent me the tip about this contest. If you don’t know who he is, get on that! He was one of the panel speakers last year, representing his company Stay Vocal and maybe I swooned a little bit.

[Ed.: For further East Bay veg awesomeness, don’t forget about Oakland Veg Week, which starting this Sunday. Eat all the food, see all the speakers, get laid, don’t get laid, whatever, you know how we do.]

[Ed., again: Not sure how we feel about contestants that make you shill yourself on FB/Twitter but uh, it’s for veganism? And it’s only 24 hours? And you could win some water bottles? All right!]


Every day is Earth Day when you’re vegan  »

For Earth Day this year I celebrated by attending Berkeley Vegan Earth Day, hosted by eco-friendly event planner Karine Brighten. Though you may be thinking, “Earth Day was soooo last week, why are you getting around to this now?” I have two reasons: One is that I am a slacker. Two is that it doesn’t matter because EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY! And the information is still relevant!
What was special about this particular Earth Day event was the link Brighten emphasized between veganism and its positive impact on both animals and the environment, as well as exploring “reasons and ways to take that commitment even further.” Mission accomplished, girlfriend! 

Berkeley Vegan Earth Day included a screening of the documentary Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction, followed by a panelist discussion and catered reception. 

To put it mildly, Call of Life was intense. Really, read its tag line: “If current trends continue, scientists warn that within a few decades at least HALF of all plant and animal species on Earth will disappear forever.” We live on a planet full of ecosystems that depend on each other for survival. When one species, whether plants or animals, begins to dwindle or become extinct, it causes a ripple effect to which human animals are not immune. The scientists, anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists featured in this documentary are hypothesizing that if we don’t fundamentally change our behavioral and societal patterns (RIGHT NOW) we are going to contribute to both the extinction of the plants and animals on our planet as well as ourselves.

Another point this movie touched upon was that as humans, we are not oblivious to this going on around us and may suffer from feelings of terror, anger, and despair. Yet our society is adept at pushing consumerism as a way to suppress those feelings, or block them out entirely. We buy the things we “deserve” to feel better, and indulge in meat though we know factory farming is vicious and inhumane, as well as a direct reason for clear-cutting rain forests. The longer this movie sat with me, the more powerfully my thoughts centered around throwing myself off my second-story balcony, but then I remembered I was hosting Easter this year, which would hopefully save at least one pig sent for slaughter this spring (nothing like an agave-brown sugar seitan roast). Activism, people! It saves lives!

Next up were the vegan panelists: David Vlansey, the executive producer of Call of Life, Lauren Ornelas of the Food Empowerment Project, Hope Bohanec of In Defense of Animals, and Alex Eaves of Stay Vocal.

My favorite points from the discussion include:

Lauren Ornelas:

  •  In the US farm workers are not paid overtime, though in pretty much every other professional it is mandatory. There are laws against compensating them for overtime.
  • Environmental racism—it’s no coincidence that oil refineries, land fills, truck depots,etc happen to be located around low income neighborhoods and communities of color. These areas have higher rates of cancer and pollutants along with less access to health care or healthy foods. Examples of these regions in the SF Bay Area include Richmond and Martinez.

 Hope Bohanec:  

  • The only difference between organic beef and conventional beef is what they are fed. Eating organic beef doesn’t effect green house or fossil fuel admissions.
  • It’s not feasible to have enough grass-fed, free-range meat to feed 6 billion people (the Earth’s population). There simply isn’t enough room.
  • Eating vegan is eating green. Two vegan meals a week is better than eating an organic, locally sourced lifestyle.

Alex Eaves:  

  • Recycling is failure to reuse.
  • It takes 400 gallons of water for all the cotton that goes into one new t-shirt.
  • If his friends that own coffeeshops were to charge everyone that brought in their own travel mug $1 and $5 for every paper cup, people could then pay for their ignorance and denial.

The reception was catered by Millennium, which was great for me, as I’ve never eaten there.

Brighten said she is “extremely happy to have had such an amazing turnout, and so much support from the community.” Sign up for her newsletter to receive updates on upcoming events here! I may have heard a rumor about vegan speed dating in Berkeley in the near future.

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