A comfortable ‘front pack’ for this shih-tzu as her owner walks around Ventimiglia market in Italy.
It is finally April, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to transitioning to warmer weather clothing. The styles you see above are a few that have especially caught my eye over the past couple of weeks. I’m planning to purchase one of two of them to add to my spring/summer wardrobe. I think the High Road Jumpsuit (#1) is my favorite. I just love a good jumpsuit and the off the shoulder style and embroidered details are perfection. I’m also a huge fan of the Striped Retreat Dress (#8) which is so simple and would be such a great practical-yet-super-cute everyday piece for the spring and summer. Click on links above to see where to find each of them if you’re a fan as well!
Warthogs vs. side-striped jackals over a cheetah-killed impala :
(Yes. That’s a black-backed jackal on the Youtube featured image. It is not in this video).
It’s vacation day! We’re Arizona bound, and boy am I ready for a holiday. While I admittedly miss those pre-kid days of nonstop travel and regular opportunities to explore the world, I can honestly say that I appreciate the handful of smaller trips we now get to take each year more than those constant trips of years past, simply because they are so much fewer and, therefore, feel more precious.
We usually keep the blog active when we travel with prescheduled and/or contributor posts, but I’ve made the decision to take a break for the remainder of this week and just focus on hanging out in the much needed sunshine with my family (check out Essley chilling poolside on last year’s Arizona trip; I call it her ‘album cover’ shot). You can still follow along with our adventures on Instagram, both in our photos and on our IG stories, and we’ll be back next Monday with a seriously excellent giveaway. In the meantime, enjoy your week! And try to take a break for yourself too, okay?
Sinead Ellis is 25 years old and lives with Parkes Weber Syndrome (PWS), a rare congenital condition. There is currently no cure for PWS. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that PWS causes arteries and veins to form abnormally, often causing excruciating pain and sometimes even heart failure. In addition, PWS often causes one limb to grow abnormally large compared to its match. In Sinead’s case, her right leg is almost two times larger than her left leg.
Sinead deals with her condition with grace and good humor, but perhaps most life-saving has been her dog, Paddington. According to The Dodo, this sweet poodle is in training to become a certified service dog, but he’s already changed Sinead’s life. Paddington has already not only healed a literal hole in Sinead’s right foot, but he has helped with her anxiety, balanced Sinead on walks despite her legs being different sizes, and even learned to monitor Sinead for signs of internal bleeding.
My routine was off today. I got distracted with work and emails and life, and before I knew it, it was 11 am. I like to walk Brody in the morning while it’s still cool out, so we rarely find ourselves out in the midday sun where it gets really hot, really fast.
I debated whether I should still go. Brody solemnly sat on my shoes and breathed on me until I decided that the decision wasn’t really up to me- this was a dog who wanted some air. He gets so excited when he sees the leash, like he’s at the gates of Disneyland for the first time, each and every time we go for a walk.
Knowing it was warm, we kept to the grass and the streets with bigger shade canopies. I detoured from my usual route, because a field to the right had erupted into a carpet of yellow blooms and I couldn’t resist the obligatory photo op:
Color is so rare in our brown, drought parched part of the world. It really was lovely.
Having veered off course, we continued down the alternate street, one we rarely explore, and that is when I encountered Peaches. Peaches was an older English bulldog, cruising around the cul-de-sac without a care in the world and not a person in sight.
If you know bulldogs, you know two things they like to do: overheat and die. While this heat and direct sunlight can be slightly uncomfortable for us, it can be killer for dogs like Peaches, so I plunked down on the sidewalk and tried to call her owner, whose number (but not address) was listed on the tag. No answer.
With no other good alternative, I grabbed Brody’s leash in one hand and Peaches’ collar in the other and squat-walked up and down the street until we found someone who was home (yay quad workout). “Peaches!” he said. “That’s my neighbor’s dog.”
I learned something else about bulldogs today, namely that when one senses a grand adventure is winding to a close, they can run like the dickens. I am ashamed to admit I came close to being outrun by a geriatric bulldog today, but Brody broke wide and herded her back into the driveway, where we managed to get her back into the shady courtyard. My neighbor assured me he could get her in from there, and Brody and I continued on our way.
I spent a lot of time wondering how much of our lives are random and how many little details just fall into place. There is a good likelihood that had we not walked by, Peaches would have gotten bored and wandered back home on her own. She might have suffered in the heat. All I know is that now I can be sure she won’t.
At the end of the day I think we are defined more by the sum of our little actions more than the grand overall thread of what the world sees. It’s what happens each day when we follow a small errant thread and tuck it back into place, whether it’s the smush faced dog running around in the midday sun or the elderly person needing help bringing their groceries in. The world moves just as much through a million tiny earthquakes as it does the one Big Shake. And sometimes, just a bit, it’s nice to think that the universe puts us right where we’re needed the most.
By Food Contributor Hamish McLaren
Vegan dishes can be just as varied and exciting as a regular omnivore diet. The key is to try new things and be open to new flavors. Spring is the perfect time to change up your recipe book because fun, fresh produce will start pouring into the farmer’s markets and stores. Tender, delicate spring fruits and vegetables like lettuces, strawberries, leeks, and ramps are all excellent additions to vegan cooking. These delicate spring flavors won’t be overpowered by meat, and when you use a vegan recipe, these ingredients will shine. Here are seven great vegan recipes to try this spring.
1. Spring Carrot, Radish, and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado (top image)
This colorful Spring Carrot, Radish, and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado by Cookie and Kate is a lovely vehicle for spring radishes. The peppery bite of the radish blends perfectly with the sweet carrot and buttery avocado in the salad. Combining these delicate raw vegetables with cooked quinoa produces a more filling salad, and combining the grains with the vegetables and greens creates the perfect meal for a cool spring day. The grains are a hearty hold over from winter, while the greens and radishes highlight spring’s coming goodies.
2. Strawberry and Lemon Tarts
These Strawberry and Lemon Tarts by Rainbow Nourishments use seeds instead of nuts or traditional flour for the tart crust. This technique gives the crust a great bite, and it’s always nice to have a few nut-free and vegan recipes in your pocket. The tarts feature beautiful strawberries on top, and this recipe would make a wonderful addition to a spring party like a baby shower, a graduation party, or a wedding shower.
3. Easy Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto
This Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto by Oh She Glows is the perfect spring condiment for pasta, sandwiches or cold salads. Garlic scapes are the top part of the garlic plant, much like the top shoot of a young onion. Like green onions, garlic scapes have a more mild flavor than the garlic bulb itself. This recipe combines a vegan parmesan “cheese” along with olive oil and traditional pesto ingredients to create a mild, nutty pesto that is perfect for showcasing the garlic scapes. Scapes aren’t in season very long, so make sure you whip this up while you can!
4. Vietnamese Spring Rolls
What could be more seasonally appropriate than these tasty Vietnamese Spring Rolls? These rolls (by Simple Vegan Blog) are a great appetizer, and they showcase several lovely spring vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and greens nicely. They are also very easy to make, and they also travel well. Try packing a picnic lunch with these spring rolls and some sauces to make a fun spring outing. Peanut sauce, plain soy sauce or tamarind sauce all pair well with these tasty and simple Vietnamese spring rolls.
5. Cocoa Coconut Mint Smoothie
Sometimes being vegan means missing out on certain tastes from your childhood but not with this Cocoa Coconut Mint Smoothie from An Unrefined Vegan. If you’ve ever drooled over the memory of that neon green Shamrock Shake a certain clown panders, then this is the St. Patrick’s Day treat for you. It doesn’t have that green glow, but it has a terrific minty flavor that won’t make you regret going vegan for one second. This smoothie is packed with vitamins and healthy fats from the coconut. It’s a great treat to prepare in big batches. Try it frozen!
6. 5 Ingredient Warm Artichoke Dip
This fresh and easy 5 Ingredient Warm Artichoke Dip from Delightful Vegans really highlights fresh, spring artichokes. This vegan version won’t weigh you down with heavy cream and cheeses like a non-vegan artichoke dip. Instead, the artichokes are blended with cashews and a little bit of nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor. This dip is a great dinner party starter. It’s also much easier to serve to a crowd than individually roasted artichokes, which can be cumbersome to prepare in large quantities. We bet that most guests won’t even realize it’s vegan.
7. Orange Roasted Asparagus
The Tomato Tart’s Orange Roasted Asparagus is the perfect recipe to emphasize the tender stalks of spring asparagus. The orange flavor is a delicate compliment to the crisp asparagus. This recipe is simple and an easy side dish to compliment any meal. While asparagus is available year-round, fresh spring asparagus is a real treat to the taste buds. If you’ve never had very fresh asparagus, then run out to your local farmers’ market and get some this spring.
We hope these seven vegan recipes have inspired you to try all that spring has to offer. Fresh spring produce is a delicious addition to any diet. However, once you go vegan, these items take on a new zest and depth of flavor. Don’t be afraid to try new produce when you see it in season because that is the best way to experience the real flavor of the food!
A longtime vegan and advocate for veganism, Hamish regularly shares his favorite recipes on his website, Hamish McLaren’s Vegan Recipes.