Saturday, April 30, 2011

For the Birds: See You in Orlando!

Because my trip to Disney World starts tomorrow, I wanted to share Pixar's Short Film For the Birds with you today for two reasons. 

First, because while the office can be a meddle of talking, sharing and a place to make important and valuable connections. Sometimes (unfortunately) it may also include gossiping or bullying. So while I think every office situation is different, a general rule I like to live by is the classic "What goes around comes around". Use your thoughts wisely, try to understand where the person is coming from. Work should be a place where everyone feels safe.

Secondly, tomorrow night is a Pixar Party at the resort. I'm not sure what includes, but I hope it involves a large vegan cupcake for dessert decorated to resemble Wall-E. (I can dream…)

I'm packed and almost ready to go. See you in Orlando!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday, VegNews & Mickey Ears

There are 3 things I want to share today.

1.   Happy Friday! Yes, it is Friday. Please refer to the site below.

2.   I was going to write a post on the whole VegNews extravaganza. I’m not a subscriber to the magazine, but I wanted to highlight the importance of positioning and selling a magazine with ethical content to people whose very basis of their decision to live a cruelty-free lifestyle might be…well, ethical. 

      Clearly you can see why throwing a couple of ice cream sundaes made of actual cream in the spread may steer away from the whole “promise to our vegan readership” thing.

Anyway, I got this blog sent to me by a colleague that touches on this very subject and would prefer to share this with you instead. The post Goofus and Gallant is written by Bill Coffin of National Underwriter. Now, before you question the whole blog, (because why on the Earth would a blog about insurance know anything about being vegan), I urge you to read the post. It talks about corporate image, VegNews and The Eagles. Odd combination, but I think you’ll like it.

I find the most interesting snippet is when Coffin, referring to lessons to learn about the VegNews incident, writes: 

“The second lesson to learn is that you do not mess with vegans. They have the fervor of suicide bombers and the reach of the mafia. The world should be thankful that all they want is to not eat animal products. If they had a fixation on accumulating gold, the world economy would crash.”

I think he was going for feisty, but wonderful.

3.   You see the ears. That’s right, T-minus 2 Days to Corporate Disney Recognition Conference Blog Awesomeness of Life Event. Woo!

What that basically means is that I’m going to be writing commentary more than usual from Disney World. I’ll let you know what I get to eat, when I get Belle’s autograph or really anything interesting that takes place. We’re also going to the new Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Studios, so this should be a good time.

200 employees, 1 vegan. Wish me luck!


PS - Kate Middleton = Gorgeous. Please, like I was going to post something on the Royal Wedding Day and not say anything about it. Love the dress. I hope they live a long, happy life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Family, Pets & Food: One Easter Day in Maine

Do you ever feel like your pets are smarter than you? Sometimes I think Band-Aid may actually know secrets to the universe and if he could talk… he still wouldn't tell me.
Band-aid was originally going to be named Penny Lane after the main character in Almost Famous. Then I found out he was a guy and the rest is history. 
"Did you find it? Did you find it?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Short Survey: Primary Reason

Hello VCL Readers!

There is a mini survey to the right that asks what your primary reason is for being a vegan or vegetarian. I am genuinely interested in your answer, since people choose a cruelty-free lifestyle for a variety of reasons. 

AND since VCL welcomes everyone, regardless of what they prefer on their plate, I've also included a "I am not  Vegan or Vegetarian" choice.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's the Little Things, Right?

Like a post-it note attached to a Mickey luggage tag which is taped to your ergo chair. Placed there by your boss, who knows that the prepping for vacation is stressful...

You and Mickey will be hanging out before you know it... Hang in there!

Vegan Cooking: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Ok, listen. This may be obvious but I’m not a vegan food blogger. If you’re looking for a recommendation on which exotic spice to throw in the mix of a fluffy cupcake batter for a scrumptious taste and how to handcraft the vegan sugar flower adorning the frosting – I’m not your girl.

In fact, if I ever made something that precise and amazing I would have it mounted and framed, not eaten. I never really cooked growing up and frankly it was easier to make a PB and J sandwich. 

I did set a Chinese take out box on fire in the microwave once during my middle school years. I’ve never seen anyone sprint so fast to a kitchen appliance as my Dad did when he realized flames had engulfed the fried rice – not one of my finest moments.

Don’t get me wrong I love to meddle with ingredients and recipes now. I appreciate measuring cups, baking utensils and stylish aprons. In fact, me and vegan cookie recipes know each other quite well and I cook almost daily for dinner and lunch the next day. Shocking, I know. 

In my schedule every meal counts. Time is of the essence and routine is necessary. I don’t spend the afternoon figuring out ingredients for ginger cookies because I’m better at  manipulating ads in InDesign, directing colleagues on brand issues and asking our agency to change the strategy on a web banner for the ninth time. I like what I do and I’m good at it. (Plus, they pay me. It’s a win-win really.)

Wearing my apron I got for a Christmas Gift at the office.  (Don't mind the hair & make-up, I think it was a snow day.) I love my apron. It's from the Boojiboo store on Etsy. The designs are vintage inspired and some of her pictures have her cute dog in them. Click here to check it out!

So here’s my advice for vegan cooking if you’re a little hesitant to start, don’t know where to begin or just need a little motivation.

Remember, If I can do it You can do it!

1.  Pick an ingredient – Pick something you really like and find a recipe. For instance, let’s say you walk into the grocery store and collard greens are screaming at you they look so good. Buy them, go home and look up a recipe for collard greens online. Nothing is going to hurt you by finding inspiration in the produce section. Plus, the more you try, the more chances you have of finding something that pleases your tastebuds. 

Maybe carrots are your staple, or almonds, or basil, or ginger…. pick something that you like! 
2. Once a week recipe – I like this one especially around the holidays. Find a new recipe once a week via the web, or your favorite vegan cookbook, or Whole Foods, or your co-workers, or really any place where you like to find recipes. It'll diversy your kitchen without completely killling your wallet, like I talk about in 11 Top Tips to Kick Off the Year Vegan Style.

3. Don’t worry about the details – I feel like every wife who has asked her husband to go to the store for an item and he finds his way home with something random is going to hate me for this one. 

"What do you mean there's a difference between cucumbers and italian squash?" 

But seriously, don't let the details deter you from cooking!

Don’t worry about the measurements of food and oil and flour, etc. until you decide on a recipe. As long as you have enough of whatever it is the recipe calls for you're great! If you have to run to the store that's OK. Besides Google was created to help you find substitutes and translate measurements. No one is going to quiz you on how many teaspoons are in 5.678985 tablespoons. So relax. Cooking is suppose to be fun. 

Martha Stewart measurement mixer. Nice!

4.  Use Vegan food bloggers – Normally I don’t recommend “using” people, but these food bloggers are resourceful and numerous. They make me a little anxious with all their perfect photos of paninis and grilled veggies. The good ones are really good at what they do and I think of them as food inspiration at the click of a keyboard. I have some favorites, but people keep sending me new sites to read!

Join Twitter if you want recipes thrown at you via the tweet machine (and don't forget to follow VeganCorpLife!) 

5. Make it Your Own -  If you don't have to impress a professor/chef or customers who cares if you stray from the recipe? Make it your own. 

If you like dried cranberries better than raisins, use dried cranberries in your cookie recipe. If you like spinach instead of collard greens, buy the spinach. You're going to be eating this creation so make sure you use things you like.  

6. Get a Go-To - Find something that you don't have to worry about, something that you can keep in your back pocket. It's your safety when the office has dragged you down, your stomach wants to eat immediately and you promised yourself that your take-out habit needs to stop! You can pick a recipe or a type of food, but find something you really love and use it. 

My motto is "Anything can be stir-fried" If I go to the grocery store with the intention that I'm going to make a recipe and then the week gets crazy, I know that most of my ingredients can be thrown into a pan with olive oil, or shyou, or veggie broth, etc. Toss in some tofu or seitan, make some quinoa and in 15 minutes you've got a meal. 

Stir it up.
Once you get into a routine of cooking a majority of your meals you'll feel great. Plus, the farmer's market is right around the corner and can provide some great inspiration. Everyday is a day to try something new and remember, cooking should be fun. If you have to throw away the eggplant dish you decided to master or want to cry at the site of your vegan peanut butter fudge, laugh it off, there's always tomorrow. 


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Family Love: Let's Eat Together

Let's appreciate Mom this Easter 

(regardless if you're 25 and can cook for yourself)

Enjoy the day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Than The Music: Guest Blogger - Jodie

I rarely post guest blogs, let alone two in one week. I am so grateful to have the positive contributions of others. (Plus in about 8 days I'll be blogging daily from a recognition conference at Disney World! Vegan at Disney, should be interesting...)

Below is a post by my sister, Jodie, a Berklee School of Music Graduate and music lover. When we were younger she use to make me screech out harmonies and participate in musical productions during holidays. So, it's only fitting her post is about music. Not just any music, but music that is helping transcend boundaries. 

Thanks Jo!

* * *

Juanes: More than the Music

I settled in front of the television with my nail kit on the night of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert, ready to get to work. I figured the least I could do, after hearing daily about the up coming World Cup Tournament from my Portuguese family members, was watch the concert. Paying careful attention to my manicure, I listened to the diverse sounds gracing the stage in Johannesburg, South Africa with a wandering ear. Then, quite out of the blue, I heard the marvelous “Yerbatero” guitar riff jubilantly burst through the speakers, and my head jolted up to see who was supplying the infectious sound. I wanted almost immediately to clap my hands in time, but, taking care not to mark up my freshly painted nails, I simply sat there and observed. 

A crazy fusion of sound was being introduced to my ears, and I was intrigued. It started with a buoyant guitar riff, adding clapping on the 2 & 4, and worked its way into a pleasant Latin/rock bass line with percussion. I searched for the volume button with my eyes glued to the screen, and turned it up. Then, the melody emerged, delivering a driving smoothness that transformed into an expertly executed lead-in to the chorus. Boldly declaring, “Soy Yerbatero. Vengo a curar su mal de amores…” (I am the Herbalist. I come to cure your love sickness…), the rhythmic story continued throughout, captivating me more and more with each conga hit. The vibrant quality and tone of Juanes’ voice begged me to listen to the words. Complete with well-written verses, a chorus with a tag that’s sure to have you singing “Bien…bien…bien…” and an uplifting, unexpected key change, this song is a genius blend of melody and rhythm that showcases what can happen when you have the ability to think and play outside the proverbial box.

The next day I paid a visit to my Portuguese cousin’s house to hang out for a while, and I asked if she had ever heard of this Juanes guy. She frequently listens to Spanish music; yet, she hadn’t a clue who he was. So, I figured when I had some free time I’d have to Google him and see what he had to offer. 

Well, life is crazy and free time is always limited, so wasn’t until I headed to Maine for a week, a couple months later, that I had a chance to explore what Juanes was all about. I became completely enchanted by what I discovered…So many songs…written, and performed with a mixture of sounds that were unmistakable, and a man, from Columbia, with a vision and a drive to change the world. Being that I didn’t speak or understand Spanish, I found myself translating my favorite songs to understand the music to the full extent. “Yerbatero” turned out to be the first single off the new Record (P.A.R.C.E.) that would be released in December 2010. From that point on, the only thing I listened to was Juanes. It put me in a frame of mind that promoted love, peace, and understanding, and I was hooked. Every chance I got, I let people in on the new discovery I had made, and happily spread the sounds of his music. Patiently, I waited for the new album to be released, and was not disappointed in the least when I finally downloaded the new music.

P.A.R.C.E. boasts the perfect mixture of topics including: politics, world conditions, love, peace, and everyday matters. It is truly amazing that a man possesses the ability to cross the language barrier and relate so intimately with people everywhere. My next step was checking the tour venues and dates, and figuring out if I’d be able to witness this phenomenon live. Much to my disappointment, the closest venue to me was Madison Square Garden in NYC. I knew going to this concert would put me in a sea of people, probably far away from the stage. I decided against it, and started to accept the reality of not going to a show this time around. A few weeks later I saw a post on his Facebook page stating a concert date in Lynn, MA had been added to the tour. After researching a bit, I found the Lynn Auditorium was about an hour from me, and was a fairly small venue. YES! I did everything I could to get tickets right in the front, and succeeded. I was delighted, I was relieved, and I was going!

The much anticipated concert, was an intimate gathering of Juanes fans that came out for the music, yes, but also for the positive atmospheric shift that happens when you combine sweet, latin beats fused with rock & pop, a grouping of incredibly talented musicians, and a soulful singing, guitar playing wonder. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Juanes is easy on the eyes, but mostly he’s attractive because he’s tuned in (no pun intended) to the heart and soul of it all. I sang, I danced, and carefully observed the spectacle that was unfolding before my very eyes. At the end of the night, I was shocked it was over so quickly, and wished only to have been able to meet him and express my gratitude for his being and for his music. Hopefully Someday!!! ;-)

Enjoying the music at the concert.

Overall, it seems Juanes sees the world in a unique way, and recognizes the chance to use his musical gift as a platform to spread peace through love and music! Even if you don’t understand Spanish, the magic in the music somehow transcends the language barrier, giving everyone a chance to be enlightened. 

Juanes was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, has won 17 Grammy’s, and is known for his humanitarian work. In 2009 he introduced the Peace Without Borders Concert in Havana, Cuba, and brought thousands of oppressed people together through his music. He started the Mi Sangre Foundation to help victims of anti-personnel mines, and is a Goodwill Ambassador for United for Colombia. Other charities he’s involved with include: ALAS, Colombianitos, Genesis Foundation, Give to Columbia, Habitat for Humanity, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and Yo Amo America Campaign.

I could go on and on about this man and his music, but I think you get the idea. If you want to learn more about Juanes and elevate your consciousness, visit his website.

Always Remember… Musicality Matters and so do you! Thanks a bunch.

 * * * 

Let the Music Inspire You!

Links will direct you to YouTube.

Check out the first single off the P.A.R.C.E. album “Yerbatero”.

Or… the sensational “La Camisa Negra”, which apparently everybody LOVES.

Want to check out his political music? Try;
“A Dios le Pido” (I ask God)

“Odio Por Amor” (Hate for Love) – It’s time to Change!!!

Some of My Favorites
“Mala Gente” (Bad People) – Well written, catchy hook, undeniable message!

“Tres” (Three) – Infectious rhythm w/ accordion, and emotion filled melodies!

“Volverte A Ver” (To see you again) – A pop song with an intimate longing you won’t be able to resist!

“Gotas de Agua Dulce” – (Drops of Sweet Water) – One of the absolute best! Translate it and you’ll enjoy it even more. Musical genius! Love, Love, Love it!

My favorite cut off the P.A.R.C.E. Album is “Todos Los Dias” (Everyday) – This song can single handedly change the way you look at life. It has driven me to be the best I can be now, and in days to come. Juanes has yet again combined just the right musical and written elements to raise the level of personal human awareness!

Download it and Sing it loud and proud.

Lyrical Translation for you: 
Todos Los Dias
Sé que no puedo cambiar el mundo
I know I cannot change the world,
Pero sí puedo cambiar el mundo en mí
But I can change the world in me.
Amar mi casa, amar vivir
Love my home, love life.
No me cuesta nada y me hace más feliz
Costs me nothing, and makes me happy.

Sólo quiero ir a lugares
I only want to go places
Donde el amor solo va
Where love alone is                       
El amor solo va
Love alone is
Es lo que quiero conocer de verdad
It’s what I want to know is real.
De verdad
is real

No quiero dejar de seguir soñando
I cannot fail to continue dreaming.
Sólo un hombre muerto deja sus sueños morir
Only a dead man leaves his dreams to die.
La vida es difícil pero no imposible
Life is difficult, but not impossible.
Nada es imposible cuando uno tiene fe
Nothing’s impossible when you have faith.

Sólo quiero ir a lugares
I only want to go places
Donde el amor solo va
Where love alone is                       
El amor solo va
Love alone is
Es lo que quiero conocer de verdad
It’s what I want to know is real.
De verdad
is real

La vida es una canción
Life is a song.
Que hay que cantar
That we must sing
Con energía
With energy
Todos los días, Todos los dias
Everyday, Everyday.

[Guitar Solo]

Sólo quiero ir a lugares
I only want to go places
Donde el amor solo va
Where love alone is                       
El amor solo va
Love alone is
Es lo que quiero conocer de verdad
It’s what I want to know is real.
De verdad
is real


Pon la frente en alto
Put your head up high
Y sin descanso
And without breaking (tirelessly)
Todos los días, Todos los dias
Everyday, Everyday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If I Could Multiply My Salary, You Pretty Things Would Belong to Me: Vegan Bags on Etsy

Handbags and working women probably formed a mutual love for each other at the beginning of time. These bags are vegan, (for the most part) office appropriate and found on Etsy. Enjoy!

Click the photo to be directed to the Etsy page of each bag. 

Photo Credit (First Four Bags): Beesnetta

Photo Credit: The Button Tree Company
Photo Credits (Red & Black Bags): Ninfea

Photo Credit (Above & Below): Nikolette Bags