Vegan Disney

This is my first post that isn’t actually written by me.  This one comes from a friend of mine, who is an excellent writer.  I always enjoy reading her posts.  And, as she takes herself on some pretty great adventures, her posts are usually pretty entertaining.  Actually, the only reason that I can call her a friend is because we worked together for a while.  She and I are extraordinarily different, and it’s unlikely that our paths ever would have crossed if we hadn’t shared an employer.  We aren’t BFF’s or anything, but we keep in touch on social media, and I count myself lucky to have someone as unique as her in my ‘social’ life.   She has lived all over North America, rides a bike everywhere, and is a vegan.  In fact, her dedication to being a vegan is what brings us to this post.  Recently, she visited Walt Disney World, and while there she was determined to find good vegan foods.  Luckily for us, her findings are well documented.

“When you think of Disney, veganism is not the first thing that comes to mind. Oppressive ‘No Running’ rules and long lines in the scorching-hot sun is. However, I am the wishiest of wishful thinkers, and was determined to find something to eat other than a side salad. SUCCESS!!!! And now, because I know you’re all secretly curious behind that relentless teasing I’m subjected to on a daily basis, here is a list of vegan-friendly places in Disney.

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Our first destination on this magical trip was to Downtown Disney, a lakeside crescent of larger-than-life shiny pretty things that leave you starry-eyed and emptied of monies. I dragged G through crowds of tired families, past guitar-shredding street performers, and away from the LEGO store just to force him to eat one—just ONE—vegan dessert at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. Regarded as the premiere vegan and gluten-free bakery in the world, McKenna’s recently opened a storefront location in Downtown Disney, even though the company has catered to the resorts and parks for several years. G got a vanilla cupcake (best to keep it simple when first delving into the vegan world) and I got what can best be described as the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert: a plastic cup crammed five-layers deep with donuts, cookies, and a cupcake. I ate the entire thing.

Don’t judge; disgusting eating habits don’t apply while on vacation.

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The following day G and I went to the best of all Disney parks, Epcot! We avoided the lines by pavilion-hopping until the day grew cooler to go on the rides. G had found a list online of vegan eats at the Disney Parks, so I made a scavenger hunt out of it and was able to scrounge up a delicious falafel wrap and mouth-watering grape leaves for lunch from the Tangierine Cafe and the Spice Road Table at my favorite pavilion, Morocco. The biggest surprise of the day came in the form of vegan mixed berry sorbet from L’artisan des Glace in France.

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Day 3 we hit up Hollywood Studios, which never fails to make me nostalgic for L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard and the Fairfax Farmers‘ Market. I heard rumor of a vegan-friendly veggie burger in one of the park’s many eclectic restaurants, but I was too busy being traumatized on both the Tower of Terror and the Rockin‘ Roller to find it (re. photos). After an even more horrifying once-around on the Toy Story ride (I accidentally shot Rex :-0 ), we took a bus to Animal Kingdom. Last year, Animal Kingdom surprised me as the best-kept secret in all of Disney World, simply because I stumbled upon a kiosk that sold vegan donuts. My heart is easily won, shut up. This time around, I hit up Mr. Kamal’s food truck in Asia and got an order of vegan samosas, with a side of spicy mango salsa. Too delicious.

G and I did the Kilimanjaro Safari, which was filled with lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at the beautiful creatures and set the day off on a magical note. As G said, “Karma is on our side!” He was absolutely right. After one continuous scream on Expedition Everest we bounded back to Epcot for dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh, where poor G compromised and ate Middle Eastern food, and we watched an incredible belly dancer who made me feel bad for eating the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert.

Thank you so much for a lovely vacation, G!!!!”

Photo From Vegan at Disney Blog
You can’t go wrong with samosas! [Photo from Vegan at Disney blog] — at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Main Entrance.
This is NOT a parfait. You are looking at five gooey, globby, grandoise layers of disgustingly vegany veganism. — at Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC
This is NOT a parfait. You are looking at five gooey, globby, grandoise layers of disgustingly vegany veganism. — at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Home Updates on a Budget Part 2 and Movie Review: Equilibrium

Our house is officially listed for sale!  Our realtor had a professional photographer come out and take pictures for the listing, and it looks great!  We chose Keller Williams as our Realtor, and we’ve been very happy so far.  One of the biggest things we did to update the look of our home was to paint it.  At the advice of our realtor we painted the walls neutral colors so that prospective buyers can project their own vision for the house when they come to peruse our home.  We painted the trim my favorite shade of white, Roman Plaster.  I’m not a fan of white walls at all, but Roman Plaster seems to have a bit more depth to it than other white paints that I’ve seen before.  We painted the walls the color that our Realtor recommended, Pecan Sandy, which is just barely not white.  I find our new walls to be terribly boring, but it certainly does look fresh.

Before
Before
After
After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My humble advice, when it comes to painting, is to buy the good stuff.  I don’t mean to buy the uber expensive paint in the designer can, but certainly don’t buy the cheap stuff.  We used the Behr Paint + Primer, it covers walls beautifully and uniformly.  It’s not a cheap paint, it cost us approximately $42 per can, but it would have cost us a lot more if we had had to buy paint and primer separately.  And if we hadn’t used the paint + primer, we would have had to used two or three layers of paint, which would have cost us even more.

Movie Review: Equilbrium

Picture Courtesy imdb.com
Picture Courtesy imdb.com

I watched Equilibrium on Netflix this past weekend and I really enjoyed it.  It’s not a new movie, it came out in 2002, but I had never even heard of it.   According to the trivia section of IMDB “The film was not given a wide release because it had already run into profit as a result of overseas sales, and Miramax didn’t want to risk turning a money maker into a loss.”  Weird, right?  I think so.  Anyway, it is an excellent movie with great stars, like Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, and Sean Bean.

 

Equilibrium is set in a future where humanity has embraced a treatment that prevents feeling.  This means that people don’t feel anger, jealousy, hate, rage, sadness, grief, or fear.  So crime has been largely eradicated.  Of course, this also means that people don’t feel happiness or love.  Christian Bale plays a type of detective who can sense when people are feeling, and of course feeling is a capital crime with the harshest of punishments.  This, of course, creates a dystopian society.  The journey of this film leaves the watcher wondering if Christian Bale is going to start feeling, and if he does, will he be able to over through a society that condemns everything that takes away what makes life worth living.  It could be a bit predictable at times, but the acting was great, the action was fun and different, and the theme really did make you think about what makes life living rather than existing.

And if you feel like laughing till you cry, check out this hilarious video from cracked: 5 Insane Foreign Remakes Of Famous American Blockbusters

Photo Courtesy userlogos.com
Photo Courtesy userlogos.com

 

Home updates on a budget

So, it’s been almost a month since my last post, which is the longest I’ve gone between posts.  But I have good reason for my extended absence.  We are putting our home on the market this week, so we’ve been working our tails off for the last three weeks trying to get it ready.  Because of our precarious financial situation, we have to sale the house ‘as is’ because we can’t afford to make any costly updates.  However, we did want to make the house as desirable as we could.  We have painted the living room, dining room, and master bedroom, sanded and stained the hardwood floor in the living room and dining room, and painted the outside of the house.  The only way that we were able to do all that we did was because my Aunt was given some money and chose to tithe some of it to us.  In addition to her help, my parents offered to pay for our work on the hardwood floor.  I’ve attached some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

 

BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
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There doesn’t seem to be a before of the master bedroom, so this is simply AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really kind of cheated on the hardwood floor refinishing.  We had very little time to get them done, and not a lot of money.  We also didn’t have the ability to remove all the furniture from the living room, so we had to be able to finish the floors with our couch and and curio in the room.  While I wholly recommend finishing a hardwood floor properly with sanding, stain, and polyurethane, I’ll share with you what we did, just in case you find yourself in this situation.  However, be aware that our floors did not need a full refinishing.  When we pulled our carpet up a few years ago, the floor was in good condition and we were able to give it a good cleaning and live with it as is for some time. However, it was a completely different color than the hardwood in the bedrooms, and we wanted to try to match the stain.

Anyway, here is our quick, budget friendly, hardwood floor cheat:

Step 1: Use a sander to remove the old stain.  We rented one from Taylor rental for just over $60/day, and we used the finest grit as we didn’t want need to get it down to the bare wood.

Step 2: Clean the floors.  We swept, vacuumed, swept, swiffered, vacuumed, etc until there was absolutely no sand left on the floors.  Our sander had a bag to collect the sand, but some still ended up on the floors.

Step 3: Stain.  This is where we started really cheating.  We could have skipped the stain and gone straight to polyurethane and it would have had enough natural color in it to give it a sheen very similar to the bedroom floors; however, polyurethane takes 8 hours to dry.  The water based only takes 3 or 4 hours, but they don’t recommend walking on the floors for another day.  And they recommend sanding and reapplying the polyurethane after the first coat with both the oil and water based.  Most importantly, my husband was going out of town in about 12 hours and the floor had to be done so that my son and I wouldn’t be confined to our bedrooms the whole time he was out of town.  Our decision was to use an exterior stain.  My husband got the Behr All in One Weatherproofing and finisher and was able to apply it with a roller brush.  The humidity was super high, so it took about 4 hours to dry, but once it was dry it was done.  The problem with this is that the floor didn’t feel as smooth under your feet as it would with the polyurethane, and it was harder to keep clean, as dirt kind of snagged on the rough finish.  Which leads us to…

Step 3: Wax.  I got two cans of the Miniwax paste wax for wood floors and a pack of microfiber cloths.  I used a microfiber cloth to apply the wax, and an old cotton t-shirt to buff it. My arms were sore for days, but the floor looks great, feels better under my feet, and is easy to keep clean.

Once again, I don’t recommend using this method if you have the time and ability to refinish your floor properly, but if you find yourself in a pinch, this will work.