Category Archives: Adventure

Walkin’ the Art Walk


Happy Monday my lovely readers! So, a little over a week ago, some friends and I attended one of down town LA’s art walks – monthly exhibitions of professional and emerging talent in the LA area. There are a lot of really cool art pieces to see!



Patrick Haemmerlein of the Hive Gallery is my personal favorite. Check out his work! It’s beautiful, and the eco-commentary is brilliantly well done.

However, the art wasn’t the only cool thing we discovered along the art walk.We even passed by a Discovery Channel trailer giving out shark week hair cuts!


However, none of us had eaten dinner and by 10 o’ clock, we were pretty hungry! And what would you know, as we were meandering down a sidewalk in search of food, we happened upon a raw vegan restaurant smack in the middle of down town! Meet Raw Bites Happy Food, home of deliciousness.

yes, the menu is indeed propped up on an air hockey table πŸ™‚

Chef Julie invited us in with a casual “you hungry?” Yes. Yes we were.

About ten minutes later, we found ourselves chowing down on a raw faux tuna roll and zucchini heart “potato” salad after having sampled some of Julie’s raw chocolate. Chef Julie is all about wholesome food for a wholesome life. I loved the restaurant’s gratitude wall!

I’m certainly thankful for Raw Bites Happy Food!

Vegan Active


Phew! Long time no blog!

Don’t worry, dear readers, I haven’t just been slacking off! This vegan’s been damn busy. To catch y’all up, the past few weeks have been filled with:

A trip to the L.A. zoo! Look for a post on my take on zoos soon!

He came right up to the glass!

Dance show! Lots and lots of dance show! I had five hours of rehearsal a day and then three two-hour-long performances!

Larissa (right) and I in our crazy animal print hip hop costumes πŸ™‚

Figuring out what in the world I’ll be doing this summer! (Still working on this one…)


Romping around with coyotes!

Sedona, one of the beautiful Waystation coyotes!


Traipsing around Santa Monica and Venice Beach πŸ™‚

My friend Carson. He's pretty awesome.

my shadow!

my friends meet the wind πŸ˜‰

Of course, being active means I’ve gotta have the fuel to do all of this – and a lot of that fuel comes in the form of protein. The question of protein has become almost cliche in the vegan community – how many of you have already stopped keeping count of how many times you’ve been asked how you get protein?

Well, for all you new vegans and those who are just plain curious, here’s my answer!

Vegan Protein

Okay, let’s talk biochem for a minute. What exactly is “protein?” Well, protein is a macromolecule composed of building blocks that are called “amino acids.” There are twenty of them; some of them our body can make, some of them our body can’t, and those are called “essential amino acids.” Really, as long as you eat a balanced diet, you’ll be fine on all twenty.

Nutritionally speaking, 1 oz protein = 7 g of protein. A balanced diet should have at least 50 g (about 7 oz) of protein a day, though I get at least 70 g (10 oz).

Wanna know how? Here are the conversions for the proteins I usually go for:

1 oz protein =

– 1.5 oz extra firm tofu

– 1/8 block tempeh

– 1/4 c shelled edamame

– 2.5 slices tofurky

– 3 meatless meatballs (TJ!)

– 2 Tb nutritional yeast

– 1/2 Tb nut butter (okay, if you want to be super neurotic it’s 2 Tb, which counts for 1 oz protein and som fat nutrients, but if you want to be a normal person just go with 1/2 Tb)

– 1/4 c most beans (again, if you want to be neurotic 1/2 c counts as 1 protein and some starch nutrients, but for sanity’s sake just go with 1/4 c)

Do you have a favorite form of vegan protein?

Out and About – and Afloat


Happy Monday everyone! (Well, it was Monday when I wrote this…)

It’s been a long morning – I’ve been up since 5 am! I stopped by Trader Joe’s this morning to pick up some protein items, swiped my card at the check-out, and almost left before actually signing for it! I sarcastically excused myself with, “Well, I’m awake this morning” – to which the wonderful cashier boy replied, “Yeah, me neither.” πŸ˜‰

So why I have I been up since five this morning? To see my mom off to the airport! She flew all the way from Missouri last week to visit me out here in LA! Of course, Mom time also meant adventure time. πŸ™‚

Our hop around L.A. had us drinking tea, sampling Thai banana rolls, and checking out the eco-book selection at the vegan Green Earth Cafe in Old Pas,

sipping on the best (and prettiest) soy vanilla latte that, honestly, I’ve ever had,

spending some quality play time with my mom’s “grandcat” Silky,

and enjoying some much-needed exploration at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific!

Of course, I had to visit the pinnipeds πŸ™‚

Look at those teeth!

And we went whale-watching! While we didn’t spot any whales on our trip aboard the Christopher, we did see a harem of sea lions hanging out on a buoy, a pod of traveling bottlenose dolphins (!!!), andΒ LOTS of sea birds (Luke, our tour guide, was able to figure out I had spotted some Grebes based on my description of them as “those black and white birds with the long necks and the beaks and who dive whenever we go by.” I was impressed).

It was fantastic – and FREEZING! Cool day + 25 mph speed + shorts = brrrr!!!

So for all of you boating hopefuls out there, I’ve got some advice πŸ™‚

Miceala’s Whale-Watching Guidelines

1. Know your tour company.

Whale-watching, sea lion spotting, really any sort of nature observation or eco-tourism needs to be done through a reputable company. Animals and ecologies need to be respected, and companies should foster education and conservation. Make sure your tour company looks past the financial gain of human entertainment to consider the footprint their groups will be leaving behind.

2. Know your climate.

When you have an impulse to buy a windbreaker from the aquarium gift shop, apparently you should listen to it! Long pants and layers come in handy for high speeds on the seas. So do sunglasses (less squinting is really more pleasant) and sunscreen. Because, you know, otherwise you might, um, end up with a brilliant sunburn you’re grateful your mother didn’t take pictures of you with…

3. Know your time.

How long do you want to observe for? If you’ve got ’em, how long are your kids’ attention spans? How long is your attention span? Do you want a guaranteed 30 minute tour of sea lions chillin’ in the harbor, or are you willing to spend a less predictable 2 hours out on the water appreciating whatever animals you do come across?

4. Know – well, actually, just don’t know.

Ask questions! Learn stuff! I got to hear about an ongoing research project correlating species sightings from the whale-watching cruises to data about animal migration patterns and human shipping lanes, all because I asked the education intern on the boat what she was writing on her clipboard πŸ™‚

Wishing y’all smooth sailing! πŸ™‚

St. Patrick’s Day Adventures


This year was my first time celebrating St. Patrick’s day “for real” – as in doing more than having a passing thought halfway through the day of “oh yeah, today is St. Patrick’s day. I guess I should wear something green. What’s clean…”

This was also my first year celebrating St. Patrick’s day as a vegan. And on a day hallmarked by corned beef and cabbage, this can be quite a feat!

But hey, as my freckles, curly red hair, and unfortunate propensity to sunburn can testify, I’ve got the luck o’ the Irish πŸ˜‰

My adventures started with piling some friends into my car for a lunch run to Dog Haus. I know, press the pause button – Dog Haus? As inΒ hot dogs? With a slogan like “best of the wΓΌrst,” you wouldn’t exactly expect it to be the most vegan-friendly of places.

Ah, but my friends, this isΒ California. And they had aΒ veggie dog.

Probably the closest thing to corned beef and cabbage that I’ve ever gotten, the veggie dog with caramelized onions, ketchup, and mustard was AMAZING! Gotta remember that my veggie dogs won’t end up being the consistency of rubber if I boil instead of microwave them. πŸ˜‰

The adventures continued with a road trip to San Juan Capistrano with my friend Joanna to see her boyfriend’s Celtic rock band, the Poxy Boggards, perform at the Coach House. Due to the unexpected lack of traffic or torrential rain, we Β ended up arriving about an hour and a half early. We decided to head over to a Starbucks to hang out for a while. And – oh, how serendipitous! – the Starbucks was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to a pet shop!

Yes, yes our trajectory did instantaneously switch to a beeline for the animals. πŸ™‚

If you’re like me, right about now some of you probably have an uncomfortable grumble protesting in the back of your head that sounds something like, “puppy mills puppy mills puppy mills puppy mills…”

As much as I love the chance to be around animals, I hate puppy mills. And unfortunately, that’s where most of the dogs in pet stores come from. I can’t walk by a pet store window display without tensing up.

However, thankfully, I discovered that Pets Plus is doing puppy sales right.

Because they’re just not doing it.

It turns out that “Pets Plus” is more about selling the “plus” than the “pets.” The store is a shop full of pet care items. Besides one small area of the store with non-exotic birds, animals were not among the store’s merchandise. No cages of dogs, no cats in closet-sized displays, not even aquariums of hamsters.

view of the shelter adoption van through the neighboring Starbucks window

That’s not to say there were no animals in the store whatsoever. There were a few dog pens at the front of the store – but the dogs were part of a local shelter’s adoption event. Pets Plus gave the shelter their store space as a forum for finding forever homes for the dogs. When Joanna and I arrived, the shelter was packing up and a store employee was bustling about compiling some goodies to send back to the shelter for the dogs.

Frankly, I was impressed.

The night wrapped up with an AWESOME performance by the Poxy Boggards and their openers, the Merry Wives of Windsor. The Coach House was a great venue where artists like Norah Jones and The Young Dubliners have performed – and where Hugh Laurie will be performing in May! Definitely going back for that one. The wait staff was ridiculously hard working and were even willing to accomodate my vegan requirements by cooking my dish differently from all the other dishes (oil instead of butter, balsamic vinaigrette instead of ranch) even though the show was sold out and the house was COMPLETELY FULL. Talk about a spot o’ Irish luck.

The three and half hours of rocking Celtic folk music, toasts, and an occasional bawdy joke or two or three or dozen definitely capped my St. Patrick’s day in true Irish fashion too πŸ™‚

What’s New (and Random)


Good morning everyone! This vegan’s been up since 6 am. Yay finals. But it’s okay, my dorm’s having blared the Ride of the Valkyries at 7 am probably would have woken me up anyway. And if that failed, I’m the sure the fire alarm and my cat’s ensuing panic at 8 am would have done the job.

Yup. It’s been one of those mornings.

(And one of those days – this post is going up twelve hours later than intended because of a computer glitch. Yikes!)

I'm worth the splurge πŸ™‚

Good thing Swork has almond milk lattes. (Or soy or hemp or rice milk lattes. Love Swork.) The people here are pretty cool too. So far I’ve overhead two writers discussing a work in progress (the word “superpowers” was used) and seen at least three people with dreadlocks. πŸ™‚

Speaking of cool things, I was walking out of whole foods the other day when I came across this:

Day instantly made better πŸ™‚

And get this! My toothbrush is recyclable!


I’ve also added Yes to Carrot’s acne scrub to my morning routine. (In place of the, uh, hand soap *cough cough* that I was using before…) It’s made mostly from plant-based ingredients, isn’t tested on animals, and targets acne without smelling like it. Honestly, the first thing my nose thought was “honeysuckle!” πŸ™‚

What’s new (or old) and exciting in your life?

Love Sucks


Or at least, that’s what Southern California’s a Capella groups seem to think.

After an AMAZING morning practice (*cough cough* 12 pm – 2 pm totally counts as morning when you’re in college world, right?) for “Mr. Pinstripe Suit,” a piece for the upcoming Caltech dance show, I was back in my dorm all ready to be a good college student and do some homework when I suddenly collided with a friend of mine who was barreling down the hallway. Simultaneously, I got tackle-hugged by another friend from behind, had a bright red flier shoved into my hand by a third person I didn’t even know, and was enthusiastically informed by one of them, “You’re going to Love Sucks, right!”

I know. You’d think that would be a question. It wasn’t.

And then I spent the next two hours at Love Sucks, Caltech’s fifteenth annual (my first!) Valentine’s Day a Capella concert. Because blowing off homework for a while to hang out with friends and watch stellar vocal groups… and every so often watch Paddy the Hot Math TA watch the groups from the row in front of me πŸ˜‰ … is totally what makes life worth it.

I got to hear Awaken, the group Sarah Bareilles was in when she was at UCLA!

Caltech, UCLA, UCSD, CSUN – all had groups who made an appearance! I was reminded how integral a part music is of my life. There’s something different, hearing music being made right there, straight out of people’s mouths, instead of being played through my laptop speakers after having been processed multiple times for “sound quality.” There’s a power to music when it’s raw, happening right there in front of you. It’s got an ability to capture you, to pull you right along with it, to hold you and not release until the final note ends.

I never sit still. Ever. My mother’s seriously concerned about whether I might have restless leg syndrome. But during an absolutely gorgeous rendition of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” by the UCLA all-girl group Signature, I suddenly noticed that I wasn’t moving. I was sitting still. My foot wasn’t shaking, my crossed leg wasn’t kicking, not even one toe was tapping. I was absolutely captured.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t shamelessly dancing in my seat during the faster songs. Caltech’s Out of Context threw themselves into the Killer’s “All the Things I’ve Done” with so much sheer energy it was impossible not to! Though at one point my friend Leslie did start to actually worry that the main vocalist, who was managing to somehow head bob with his entire body at an impressive frequency, was going to start seizing…

But hey, that’s passion for you. πŸ™‚

Beating Murphy’s Law


You know Murphy’s Law? The saying that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong? Well, that just about sums up yesterday. Wildlife Waystation was the highlight of a HUGE event at Celebrity Centre International, a Scientology center in Hollywood. We brought the largest number of animals to an event, possibly in our entire history, but because of strict rules, also had the fewest number of volunteers accompanying them. Talk about hectic.

The day began with me sleeping through my ringing alarm for FORTY MINUTES. I might need a better alarm, y’all. Waking up late meant I had no time to shower, no time for breakfast, not even time to pick up coffee. I had to book it.

When I finally arrived at the Waystation, a whole new slew of problems ensued. People were late, there was a problem with the goat-and-llama-transporting horse trailer, there was a problem with plan B for the horse trailer, there was a problem with the van key (i.e. we couldn’t find it), there was a problem with the van (i.e. it wouldn’t start), there was another problem with the van (i.e. it stalled and wouldn’t start AGAIN) – and on and on!

Yup. That's right. I travelled in the pig van. Oreo probably had the most room.

Yesterday could be summed up as problem after problem. However, it could also be summed up as solution after solution. People’s strengths came out in full force. Shorthanded and having little to work with, volunteers didn’t discriminate in how they helped. Phone calls were made, errands were run, stepping in was facilitated. Which team you were on, what department you worked with – categories like that stopped mattering and all that did matter was that if you could do it, you did do it.

The astounding show of teamwork pulled it off! And then I handled goats for the next six hours πŸ™‚

Adrian chillin' with Pepper the goat

Oh! There, um, was also that moment when I was looking for a waste bin to throw away trash for someone and thought that oh hey, this big grey trash bin next to the reptiles is probably for waste, right? So I just opened up the lid and OH MY GOODNESS NOT A TRASH CAN!

Turns out the boa constrictor was inside. That lid got shoved back on pretty darn quickly. Banana’s gorgeous but, uh, not quite what I was expecting. At least Murphy’s Law has a sense of humor.

Though might I mention that Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri came through on a VIP tour? THAT was pretty cool! But no, I decided to NOT be one of the gagillion annoying people the two have to put up with who take pictures of every waking moment of their lives. Sorry, guys. πŸ˜‰

I did take lots of pictures of our animals, though! Be on the lookout for upcoming pics of ME with the goats πŸ™‚

Mungar the tiger. Or "the handsome boy" πŸ™‚

Rowdy the black-capped capuchin reeling up a bucket for the prize inside

Wendy with Dakota the wolf

How have you made the best of a rough situation?



Phew! Bloggy silence! A whole week without posting! Let’s remedy that. :p

So, to catch y’all up in the world of this college vegan, school (including a neurobio class presentation on how your brain tells you you’re hungry; upcoming – a presentation on how rats are nice to each other and share chocolate) and handling a life explosion have been taking up most of my time this week. You all don’t need the details.

But today, I went hiking! The Caltech Y sponsored a hike to the Arroyo Seco, L.A.’s main water shed. And what did I see there? I saw promise.

I know. Doesn’t look like much. Let’s go back aways.

Meet Roger, JPL engineer and oak tree enthusiast. He’s a volunteer guide at Hahamongna Watershed Park and told our group about the types of oaks around the area. The Englemann Oak are native to Pasadena, but oy have they been having a tough time. Fires, wildlife looking for lunch, crowding out by the Coast Live Oak, and humans bowling over native flora and planting yards full of non-native species instead have decimated the original population.

Roger, however, has decided to do something about it. For the past decade or so, he’s been collecting acorns that fall from the mature Englemann Oaks during the winter, growing them for a few months on his own, and then planting them back in Hahamongna. However, Roger’s endeavors aren’t just a one-man show. Because of his young son, Roger’s been involved with the Tom Sawyer camp for elementary and middle schoolers at Hahamongna. He gets the kids to think about where it would be best to reintroduce the trees in the park and how to make sure the young trees survive during the times when the camp isn’t running.

Basically, Roger’s teaching young kids how to think about conservation efforts. And then he lets them play in the dirt.

And those little foundlings the camp’s planted? They’re growing.

And that shows promise.

The Adventures So Far


1. I helped save the seals as an animal care intern at the Marine Mammal Care Center.




This is a juvenile elephant seal who came in with an injured eye to the MMCC. I got to practice my first responder skills wrapping the eye! In honor of his headwrap I nicknamed him “Baboushka.” He’s since been released back into the wild πŸ™‚








2. I rescued a kitten!

Meet Silky. His is quite a story! A group of the MMCC interns and I worked to rescue Silky and his brother and sister (now named Rocky and Winnie, short for Wednesday) from the beach where they’d been dumped. We were able to safely coax two of the kittens from where the three had nestled together, hiding under a rock, but one of the kittens – Silky, of course – freaked out, and dashed away. It took three more days of searching, some clawed arms on my part, and some help from a slightly eccentric, feral-cat-feeding man called Joe (who, by the way, is responsible for Silky’s name) to finally rescue the little guy. With his purr as loud as a motor boat, I immediately fell in love with Silky. By the end of the drive back to Pasadena, I knew I couldn’t let him go.




3. I met Jane Goodall!

The arrow points to Jane Goodall about to take her seat in the auditorium. My phone camera was slow and couldn't zoom, hence the super low-res pic.

Through a random facebook advertisement, I found out that Jane Goodall would be present at the preview of her new movie, Jane’s Journey, in Santa Monica. I got my copy of In the Shadow Of ManΒ signed and participated in the Q&A session! A friend of mine famous for giving hugs even got to give a hug to Jane Goodall!


4. I attended Hug a Vegetarian Day!

Me, Nugget, and a friendly Peta2 staffer

Vegan frankfurters. Yummmm.

… and on my way home, I discovered a gelaterie with vegan options!












I couldn’t decide between chocolate orange or strawberry. So I got both. πŸ™‚






What next?!