Vegan Chili and Community: Spring Is Here

Saturday was one of my favorite days of the year as a resident of Bethlehem, PA. Spring on Fourth (Street) and the annual chili cookoff bring out the entire city – and their DOGS! – to enjoy the beginning of spring and celebrate our community and local artists and businesses.

Save the Kales! was there with vegan chili, more of a thick soup made with whole ingredients, and it was so well received. Lucky for me I got some of the great reactions on tape, and also captured the vibe of the day.

This day was a celebration of our town, and the way it is so open to letting young, creative people explore ideas and create new businesses, art and community. Yesterday what I strongly felt was that the people here are here intentionally. We are making things happen, we support each other, and we see the potential  – not to mention that which we’ve already turned into something.

*If you’re interested in knowing more about something/someone you see in the video, please ask and I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of their business or their projects.

Where is my sunshine, my only sunshine?

First things first – A huge thank you to YOU (yup, you there!) for stopping by! Every day our little Save the Kales community grows bigger and with it, my heart. Corny but true. I’m a sap. “Thank you” is the point, sincerely. Onward…

Am I the only one that loves rainy days? I was having a hard time planning todays post because I’m so excited about whats coming up later in the week, so today is all about:

A Rainy Day Well-Spent

For starters, let’s talk comfy clothes! If you have the luxery of being in bed all day, you want to be comfortable, kinda sexy, and eco-friendly if possible! This adorable and beautiful camisole (with panties sold seperately) from SandMaiden Sleepwear fits the bill. Made partially from organic cotton, you can choose your color from swatches available in the shop. There’s no reason you can’t feel glamorous and cute, even if you spend the day under a comforter! Camisole is $66, panties are $36. Go here:

I love a good cup of coffee. I like dark coffees but need cream, so let’s all say a little prayer for Turtle Mountain and their So Delicious Coconut Milk creamer! It’s very smooth and creamy and doesn’t taste like coconut milk (which is only half disappointing… mmm, coconuts), though it comes in several flavors and makes a great alternative to dairy half-and-half. The company makes a million other wonderful products including ice creams and yogurts, so look for them in your health food store or your local grocery store – they are turning up all over the place!

That would take us to brunch! The best meal ever invented! If you must go outside, do yourself a favor and find some yummy and warm food to quiet your grumbling belly. If you’re in the Lehigh Valley, that would mean going to my favorite brunch place ever ever EVER on earth, Blue Sky Cafe. Blue Sky Cafe is a gorgeous urban bohemian restaurant with the friendliest waitstaff around and the most delectable menu. They have something for everyone, but are VERY veg-friendly, and if you’re vegan, I recommend something from the All Stirred Up portion of the menu, without eggs. My favorite is the Jon Solomon’s veggie stir, and be sure add soy sausage to it! Heaven on a plate, I swear. Everyone that works there is adorable and creative, and it’s also a fine showcase for local art. Check out the full menu here:

Next, something I’m very excited about, especially on a day like this – BOOKS! It’s absolutely impossible to pick favorites, but here’s some that really stand out to me at this moment in time.

This Must Be the Place by Anna Winger –   If you liked “Lost in Translation”, you’ll love this. It has the same melancholy, rainy-Sunday feel to it, but is written with so much eloquence and beauty it has really stood out to me as one of the best books I’ve ever read (I can’t choose one, but I can pick many!). Ex-patriots in a foreign city, living parallel lives and questioning their situations. If you’re one of those people that judges a book by the cover AND the first paragraph (I am), let this whet your appetite:

“Ninety years is not such a long time in the scheme of things: the life of a person, if they are lucky; a room just wide enough to touch both walls with outstretched hands. In other places such a building might have seen only the soft swell of progress, but here? Ninety years of drama, followed only by this… “

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn – I’m just not talented enough a writer to give a review of this book that would do it any justice. I can easily say it’s one of the most perverse, disgusting and graphic books I’ve ever read. Many reviews of the book are from people who admit they couldn’t finish it because it was just too much. But beyond the shock there lies a story of purity and innocence. It’s about a family of sideshow freaks and the influence they come to have on their audiences, as well as struggling to live in a world of “normals”. Trust me when I tell you it will haunt you long after you have finished it. I came to actually love the characters like real people and was heartbroken to have finished it. Start it, and then please stay with it and finish. Your life will be richer.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson – I’ve had this on my “to read” list for years, inspired primarily by my love of World’s Fair antiques that came from my father. This is a true story of the building and organizing of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, paralleled with a story of a serial killer who became very prominent in Chicago and got away with many well-calculated murders before anyone discovered them. It’s a story of community-building, architecture, politics and manipulation. It’s a historical book that reads like a novel. I only have 50 pages left, so as you can see, this is how I’ll be spending part of my afternoon. I finally found it for one dollar at the library book sale, but you can get it on for less than a dollar!

What are some of your favorite rainy day rituals?