COOKBOOK WINNER! Allyson Kramer book signing, and Montclair, NJ

Today I announce the winner of the cookbook + t-shirt giveaway!

But first…

I have to tell you how much fun I had with the author of said cookbook, Allyson Kramer, on Saturday. She picked me up and we were off to Montclair, NJ for her book signing, coconut waters in tow.  It was a total gab-fest (you’d think we never talked before) and sometimes you just need to be in a car with a friend talking about everything + anything with no judgement and lots of “OHMIGODS!”.  I think it was therapy?

We arrived in Montclair, which is only an hour and a half drive from Bethlehem, and also happens to be freakin’ adorable. It is exactly the sort of town I love: lots to look at, eccentric locals and independent businesses, a vibe all it’s own without the overwhelming feeling of a huge city.

Watchung Booksellers

To make it better, Allyson’s book signing was in this sweet indie bookshop, Watchung Booksellers. Old typewriters, famous author plush dolls, original wood accents, handwritten tags by the staff taped the front of books explaining why they loved it… I told one of the staff I wanted to put on some pajamas and lock myself in on a Sunday. It was charming and perfect.

Allyson Kramer book signing

Allyson gave a talk about her journey to vegan, then eventually gluten-free cooking, answered questions about various flours and techniques, and signed everyone’s books. *Including the book I am giving away at the end of this post!

I met a lot of great people in the audience (some who have watched and enjoyed the show – thanks!) and we packed up to get some lunch with Dianne and other ladies from the Montclair Vegans group. (Another post on Dianne and her amazing HOUSE coming soon!)

They took us to eat Ethiopian food – my first time having it and I was hungry and so thrilled! Allyson and I shared a Veg Sampler, and I had no idea what to expect. They brought out the largest plate I’ve ever seen (Dianne said they are twice as big when you get the 4-person sampler), and dropped little piles of food onto a plate that was covered with injera, a porous bread you rip apart with your hands and use that to pick up the food, instead of forks. No forks, all hands. This is my kind of place. 

My hand near the plate for scale. Ethiopian Food is awesome.

The ladies we met from Montclair Vegans were so sweet and welcoming, and I can’t wait to see them again! If you get a chance, attend one of their many events — which often times mean nationally recognized speakers, authors, and personalities — and I will invite myself to tag along. Heh.

It was still early in the afternoon, so some of us walked around the town. We were ooh-ing and aah-ing over conversation and the pretty town, when I spotted them…

… a block and a half away, these chairs. 

Come to Mama.

I realized I was not the only chair-luster in the group, and we practically galloped to this shop (I galloped?) to admire beautiful old things, Mad Men-esque bar glasses, 1960’s lamps and seating arrangements… be still my heart. I thought the day couldn’t get any better, then it did. I snagged this blurry photo on the sly in the middle of my drooling.

Modern Furniture in Montclair, NJ

Thank you to everyone at the book singing for your new friendships, laughter, lifestyle tips, twitter-connections, support and love.

Extra thanks to Allyson for being such a dear friend, and for being the living proof that we can make our dreams our realities. Literally. (Also, hugs and kisses for what may turn out to be a pivotal conversation for my own life and career. I love you!)

Dianne Wenz, Allyson Kramer, Jaime K!

OKAY! CONTEST WINNER TIME… DRUMROLL PLEASE…

Abigail Prince from Wilmington, DE

Congrats, Abigail!  You have won Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats (signed!) by Allyson Kramer,  and a comfy Save the Kales! t-shirt! Let’s get in touch so you can tell me where I can mail your goodies to! (*Winner chosen at random with an online number generator.)

THANK YOU x’s a million to everyone who participated! It was so fun to read your personal stories and learn about the cookbooks that helped you.

Don’t worry… I have more giveaways up my sleeves! I’ll be sure to post about a new contest soon. I’d love to make this a monthly thing, so let me see if I can secure a bunch of giveaways and we will make that happen. Share the love, right?

“The World Laughs in Flowers”

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Summer bouquet, Apple Ridge Farms. Bethlehem, PA farmers market.

At night, I try to sleep but can’t. My mind is racing with possibilities, playing out scenarios, sometimes I wake myself up talking as though someone would give a reply. There is so much to do and fully realizing how much we can do makes sleep, though necessary and desired, fade away into groggy 4am stumbles through the kitchen, scribbling notes on scrap paper and telling myself “remember this idea tomorrow, remember this idea tomorrow”.

And all the while, the world really does laugh in flowers.

Things Fall Apart

I was planning to post Episode 3 today, but the power cord of my computer broke and the battery life left is not enough to get through the post.

Check back tomorrow afternoon for Episode 3 of the show, plus the recipes!

Until then, having to go to the dumb mall for a new cord is a little better with the discovery of huge earrings on clearance and papaya bubble tea. See you tomorrow!

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Summerfestivus for the Rest of Us

It’s 11pm and I’m typing this from a picnic table surrounded by quiet trees on a University campus in a small town at the other side of Pennsylvania.

This afternoon, after some traffic and one too many rest stops, I made it to Vegetarian Summerfest (ahem, Vegan Summer Camp) and within 5 minutes of walking around I was hugged four times.

That’s one huge every minute and fifteen seconds.

My first class was a focus on interconnectedness, a discussion that explores the notion that, elementally, we (all of us) are the same as all nature and “things” (everything), vibrational energies buzzing and humming, made up of the stuff of stars, one in an infinite sky but no less brilliant or worthy of light.

Sound like a feel-good family comedy? It is, I suppose, almost exactly like that. Which is precisely what makes being here so special.

 

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