Oh, hiii. I’m sneaking this blog post in before we pack up and fly down to San Diego early tomorrow morning.
So, what am I loving this month? One word. Summer!
Read on to hear about some of the very summery things that have been going on over here.
Who doesn’t love a good backyard pool party with the fam? During the first weekend of the month we all got together and enjoyed a BBQ and some fun in the pool. Including baby bro’s first little dip in the water.
Barenaked Ladies concert
Mike and I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert mid month at (I think) the best venue in the Bay Area; the Mountain Winery. Omg this place is pretty!
Better Than Ezra opened for them. I hadn’t heard of them before but their music was catchy and they were funny. Which makes live shows way better.
Barenaked Ladies were also really funny and just generally great to see live. Such a good night in a gorgeous setting! We spilt a bottle of wine and chilled out listening to the music. Talk about a perfect summers night.
We’ve started to get a few engagement gifts (always fun) and this week we came home to a pretty good one. A wine cooler!! It fits perfectly beside our bar and I can’t wait to have a chilled glass of wine soon. I’m looking at you, Barb!
Crispy Tofu Strips
I don’t think there is a single tofu recipe on veg-vibes. Although I avoid cooking meat at home, tofu isn’t a staple in my kitchen. I guess it’s just never been my jam. And while I doubt tofu will be in the regular rotation, I did like this recipe for baked crispy tofu strips.
1 package extra firm tofu
1 cup milk (nut or regular)
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbs corn starch
2 Tbs onion salt
1 Tbs cumin
1/2 tbs chili powder
Wrap tofu in a clean dishtowel and place under cookbooks for about 20 minutes to get most of the water out
While your tofu is sitting, mix together breadcrumbs, corn starch, and spices + pour milk into a bowl
After your tofu is dry, cut it into ~1 inch strips
Coat strips with milk and then place them into the breadcrumb and spice mixture
After coated, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
What a fun city to spend a weekend in; particularly a bachelorette party!
A few girls from California flew out to meet a few girls from the east coast in New Orleans. We were all there to celebrate one special lady, Lauren, and her “last fling before the ring.”
I flew out with Lauren, her sister, and our other friend – who is also named Ashley – early Friday morning. After a minor detour to Mississippi for gas, due to a thunder storm above the New Orleans airport when we were landing (major oversimplification but whatever!), we arrived in the late afternoon. We had about a hour to hustle and get ready before dinner with the whole group.
Although we didn’t stay directly in the French Quarters, we were a quick walk from there at the J.W. Marriott. We were at Red Fish Grill in less than 10 and bottles of wine were already waiting there for us from the sweet bachelor himself (thanks, Ian!). In retrospect, I wish I ordered something distinctly Southern, like the redfish or jambalaya, but I opted for the sugar cane glazed chicken instead. Which was good (!) but doesn’t seem too authentic…
New Orleans is like Las Vegas and you can walk around with alcohol. Which was lucky for us because we had leftover wine. We were given some to-go cups and hit the mean streets of NOLA with our wine in tow.
First stop was the Carousel Bar which was, sadly, underwhelming to say the least. Looking at pictures online, it must have been broken (or something?) because I remember it being a dark bar with barely moving seats.
To compensate, we took a whole bunch of bathroom pics. As you do.
We hit up a few bars after for some shots and light dancing but the evening came to an abrupt halt when someone STOLE a member of our party’s wallet! UGH.
We filed a police report and headed back to the hotel. (Full transparency, we also stopped at a McDonalds on the way back and I may or may not have ate a large fry with BBQ sauce… guess I won’t be going for 2 years of NO FAST FOOD after all. Hah)
The next morning we had brunch at the iconic Brennan’s. If you’re a fan of banana’s foster – and I didn’t know I was until I tried it at Brennan’s – this is the place for you; BECAUSE it was invented there. And, well, it’s delicious.
Brennan’s was good and it was cool to eat there but the service was sloooow. Despite the 3 hours we spent there (!) I would recommend trying it out. If only because it is such a part of New Orlean’s history. I later watched a documentary about Ella Brennan on Netflix that I also recommend!
Also, side note, the coffee in New Orleans… next level. I loved the chicory in it and snagged a few bags to enjoy with my Grandpa in San Diego at the end of the month and my in-laws when they are in town for the 4th. 🙂
(Mike isn’t a coffee drinker! …is chicory tea a thing?)
After brunch, my close friend Leslie and I went on a cemetery and garden district walking tour. We went through the company Two Chicks and our guide was great! Plus, it’s a company owned by 2 chicks women, so happy to support.
We started in the cemetery where we learned that it is a common misconception that the graves are built above ground because New Orleans is under sea level. Basically the sea level issue is a minor reason for above ground tombs and it has more to do with space than anything else.
When a family member died, they were placed in the tomb and given a year and a day to decompose. After they hit the year and a day milestone and when the next family member died, the tomb would be opened and the remains of the already decomposed would be placed in a mesh bag and stored in the back of the tomb. This process repeated itself and allowed for a lot more family members to be buried in the same space, as oppose to a whole tomb for every person. Instead they all shared; fully decomposing together.
And for that person wondering – what if a family member died before the year and a day cutoff for the tomb to be re-opened? – families could rent a wall vault in the interterm.
Another interesting thing we learned was that many bodies actually ended up being stolen by medical students so they could examine them. Creepy.
Next up was a stroll through the gorgeous streets on the garden district. Celeb house sighting included!
After 2 hours of walking in humid weather, it was time for a drink and some apps! Les lives in Nashville and I don’t see her as often as I would like to 😦 so it was nice to catch up a little bit.
We hurried back to the hotel after to get ready for dinner at , which was another 3 hours btw (Southern dining!) hahah. I can’t complain though; the laughs were effortless, the food was delicious, and the drinks were flowing. Also, a huge thank you to the bride-to-be’s parents who generously picked up the tab!
After dinner I think we were all walking the line between, crash back at the hotel or RAGE. I’m happy to report we decided to saunter over to Razoos to get down.
…That morning I woke up and was like, no shots. When we walked into Razoos, Leslie and I immediately took 2 shots and bought one for the bachelorette. Because that’s how bach parties go.
Suffice to say, the night was dance (and vodka) filled. It was also Pride Week so everyone was in festive, happy spirits.
After another run in with fast food (NOT SORRY, I WOULD HAVE BEEN SO HUNG OVER WITHOUT IT), we were back at the hotel.
On Sunday morning the general consensus was beignets and “byyyyyyeee.“ New Orleans was a great time but it was time to go home.
We gathered our beads, dumped out the last of the bubbles, popped the unmentionable balloon decorations, and filled up on caffeine and airport burritos to fuel us back to California. Until next time, nola! ✌️
Subscriptions and online shopping are still proving to be a favorite for me this year. I tried out 2 new online shipping services this month because I have a problem. The first one was from Brandless where everything is only $3. What a steal right!?
Their spiel is that they’ve removed the brand tax that we pay for products from other companies. Therefore, everything is “brandless” and can be $3. I honestly did zero research on this and I’m sure buying some products via their service aren’t much of a savings but I still like the idea. Plus a lot of their stuff is organic; including their panty liners!
I ordered a pretty random assortment of stuff (see pics) and haven’t used everything yet. But I can say the quinoa is gone and the crushed pepper & truffle oil popcorn is life changing! I am a savory snacker and this stuff hits the spot.
I’m not sure if I’ll be ordering from Brandless again but I think it would make a cool gift idea. And it is worth it to try once, just for something new.
I also tried Grove Collaborative. Mainly because I got a free bundle for being a Skimm reader. Although, my values align their mission so I would like to support the company moving forward.
I had to spend $20 to get my bundle (which included all of the Mrs. Meyer’s products, the dish brush, and the spray bottle). To get there, I ordered the Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes (they’ll be gone in like, a week); more Schmidt’s deodorant (a past Friday Favorite); and Bon Ami powder cleanser (this purchase was a whim but worked wonders on my kitchen sink).
After I got my order I paused the automatic renewal feature because I’m not ready for that level of commitment. Hah. But I will be using them again to order non-toxic household products.
I rarely wear earrings because my ears are super sensitive. I need a good metal that doesn’t irritate my ears and never really want to spend the money on that investment. My mom recently gave me a $50 Amazon gift card and I decided to try to find some affordable, quality studs.
I ended up with these tiny earrings and… what gems! They were under $14! I think they are so cute and, most importantly, they don’t bother my ears. Plus Lemon Grass is a family run business, which I also like to support.
I’ve only tried this once – because you have to brush for 5 minutes with it – but did actually see results; plus my mouth felt extraordinarily clean after. There is also a lot of charcoal powder in the container, so although it is on the pricey side, I think it will last a long time.
Note that it is a bit weird to use because your entire mouth turns black and you look like a monster (not willing to post a pic of that on the internet hah) and, as mentioned, takes some time.
I’m still trying to get Mike to try it with no success…
SETTING A DATE
We set a date for our wedding and have less than a year to go! What!!! It feels so official now. I already have my dress. Our venue is amazing and I feel like we have a lot taken care of through them. We still need to do is pick a color, a DJ, and a photographer but that’s kind of it (…she types, blissfully unaware of all the little things that still need to be planned).
It’s so crazy that I will be Mike’s wife this time next year. All about it.
Who has tried these? Feijoas are native to New Zealand and such a devine little fruit. I saw them at Whole Foods and wanted to try them since a YouTuber I follow is always talking about them. They are a bit tart and fleshy. I cut them in half and ate with a spoon for breakfast. So refreshing and the perfect warm-weather fruit.
This food pyramid
Am I right?!
I snapped this picture of a poster in a Peet’s (say that fast!) when we were coming back from Tahoe. It is basically my diet on weekends and vacations and I’m sticking to it.