Category Archives: adventures

Weekend Adventures: Pizza and Glasses!

This is my first installment of a new regular feature: Weekend Adventures! I try to always have at least one adventure each weekend. This doesn’t mean I’m always off on a road trip or exploring pirate ships or something… a weekend adventure could even mean staying home and baking. But to me, the ‘adventure’ part comes strictly from your attitude. If I look at two (and a half if you include Friday afternoon/night) days of potential with excitement and I’m open to what comes along, then it is an adventure! A few weeks ago was a jam-packed weekend full of fun- a concert Friday night; a road trip Saturday; brunch, shopping and then napping and baking on Sunday… so much adventure to be had! So I’m going to focus on Saturday.

David and I had this little day trip planned for over a month and it was pretty much centered on eating delicious pizza. The rest just fell into place.

After sleeping in and lazing around with kitties we headed down to Los Angeles (about an hour and 45 minutes drive) to hit up The Original Pizza Cookery for vegan pizza for me and non-vegan pizza for David. The Pizza Cookery has a full two page spread on their menu dedicated to vegan options! (they also have tons of gluten free options if you need that kind of thing) They automatically bring complimentary (and all you can eat!) garlic butter rolls to the table and you can request their vegan version if you like! And they’ll bring both versions if you ask.

I ordered a medium pizza just for me so I had tons of leftovers. I got the Southwestern pizza with Daiya mozzarella (they use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese unless you request the Daiya). The Southwestern comes with BBQ pizza sauce, vegan chicken, cilantro, and red onion. From past experience I had them leave the red onion off- just not my thing. So the pizza was as insane as I knew it would be. I ate a couple garlic rolls and a few slices of pizza and was set for the rest of the adventure-day!

delicious vegan pizza

Fully fed, David and I took the long way down to Venice Beach to wander, people watch, and oh, just maybe, get new glasses! We’re both a bit obsessed with glasses. David more so than me, probably because he needs glasses to see always! I only need them to see certain things… Earlier this year we discovered Good See Co., a wonderland of thousands and thousands of eyeglass and sunglass frames. And they can put your prescription in onsite in about 30 minutes. (and they are willing to negotiate on price- which is fun!)

We wandered the store and both found frames we were in love with. We negotiated a good deal and then left the good people at Good See Co. to work their magic while we wandered the boardwalk in Venice (that’s a lot of ‘goods’!). It was after dark by this time so we stuck close to the main drag, but it was so lovely out. After the sun went down the air got warmer than it had been that chilly afternoon. We saw tons of awesome doggies and interesting characters. After the allotted time, we headed back to pick up our glasses. They were perfect and we were so happy!

Happy! At the beach! With glasses!

Now we were ready for more pizza (since we had all those leftovers). We found a grocery store with a good selection of bottled sodas and then we feasted, once again, on pizza and garlic rolls. Only this time, we sat in the car and relaxed! It was so much fun to just kick back in the car with boxes of pizza on our laps. And awesome-er still, we had even MORE leftovers for Sunday!

Once we finished the car-feast, we look the long way (again) back to the freeway to head home to the kitties.

A nice daytrip with a good song playlist, a tank of gas, and pizza anticipation makes for an adventure to remember!

Vegan Eats in LA- Part 1 Vegan Sushi!

Last week and the week before I was in Los Angeles for a trade show for work. I ate a few amazing vegan meals and a few ok vegan meals. I didn’t get photos of everything because, honestly, by the time we got to eat most days I was totally starving and the last thing on my mind was snapping pics! And the photos I did get were in dark restaurants on my phone… so anyway, on to the food!

beautiful painting in Shojin's ladies' room

First up was ABSOLUTELY THE BEST MEAL I’VE EVER EATEN. EVER. Shojin vegan sushi restaurant in Little Tokyo, downtown LA. Going to a totally vegan restaurant is such a treat for me. For one thing, we don’t have one in Bakersfield, and secondly, it is amazing to be able to just ORDER. Anything you want without asking questions or asking to hold this or hold that. Yay!

We started with the Shojin Gyoza. The menu said, “filled with many kinds of” and that’s it! So, I’m not sure what the many kinds of things were, but whatever the many kinds were, they rocked! (no pic of this)

Next I got the Kale Caesar Salad- it was also amazing, and I also did not get a photo… it was too good to stop!

Next my dining companion (who is an omnivore and also totally love this place!) and I shared two rolls. The first one had the best name of a dish that has ever existed. Pirates of the Crunchy! Holy yum was this ever good. It was topped with fried tempeh in a crunchy tempura batter and spicy mayo. I wanted to go back every day and order two of these just for myself!

Pirates of the Crunchy!

Our second roll was the Rainbow roll and it had marinated peppers over top that mimicked the texture of fish on a typical rainbow roll. This dish was completely gorgeous!

beautiful rainbow roll

We finished off our meal with the Halloween Cake. This was a chocolate cake with orange layers of sweet potato filling, topped with a fudgy frosting.  It wasn’t overly sweet and it was so up my alley! It was served with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream and some fruit. It was a completely lovely meal!

Halloween cake

Next up will a post on cupcakes and pizza! Stay tuned…

Slight Nacho Interruption & Some Great News!

Tomorrow I leave for a big trade show for work. I’m going to Los Angeles (which is only 100 miles from home), but I’ll be gone the rest of this week, a short return for the weekend and then back for all of next week. I’m not sure how much blogging and/or nacho eating will be able to take place. I don’t have a laptop so that may prove to be a blogging issue. I’ll try to blog about all the fabulous vegan food I plan to stuff my face with though!

And now for the great news: I received my letter today stating that I passed the AFAA Primary Group Exercise Instructor certification test! That means I can officially teach aerobics and other formats of group exercise at a gym or wherever- and get paid for it! :) I wrote about my training day here.

So here’s a crappy photo of my certificate:

i wanna be the next richard simmons!

Have a fabulous week my friends!

Let’s Get Physical

Ms Olivia!

I’ve always loved group exercise classes. I took an old school aerobics class with my mom and sister held in a high school gymnasium when I was little. I LOVED it. I took dance throughout my childhood and while I may not have been the star of the class, I sure had fun! I still love to get my dance groove on, especially with a bunch of other people having fun too! In high school I took Step Aerobics classes all the time and also a class called ‘Stretch & Relax’, which was yoga but the YMCA in the early 90s did not want to call it that!

I’ve always wanted to teach aerobics and several years ago I started taking Turbo Kick classes (cardio kickboxing). I was immediately addicted to this format and I thought- I HAVE to teach this. It is so fun! But I didn’t bite the bullet and figure out how to actually get certified to teach until this year. The first step in the process was to obtain a Primary Group Exercise certification through once of the nationally recognized aerobics and fitness organizations. I chose AFAA (American Fitness & Aerobic Association) because it has a good reputation and also because they have a discounted testing program twice a year.

I received my study materials (a GIANT textbook and a study guide, along with a supplemental text book) this summer and had a few months to learn the material. I studied my little heart out and finally the big day came!

I drove 117 miles to downtown Los Angeles to attend a day long workshop and examination. We spent the majority of the day practicing our routines and reviewing the materials as a group. The test consisted of a group practical exam where we had to show various exercises and stretches for different muscles groups as the muscles were called out. This went on for what seemed like a very long time. I was sure sweaty when we were finally done demonstrating all the exercises!

Next we had to do the individual practical portion where we basically taught the class on our own- showing a specific muscle strengthening move, a stretch, or a cardio routine, showing beginner, intermediate, and advanced modifications, whilst smiling, maintaining eye contact, continually talking about form, alignment and safety… all within one to two minutes!! Oy- that was tough, but fun! I was soooo nervous! But once I got up in front of the group I was just excited. I felt at home. I kept repeating to myself the entire day, “I was born to do this. I was born to do this.” It worked! I was born to do this! I want to bring fun, dancey, sweaty, healthy exercise to people that might not normally be inclined to do it!

I was afraid I would be the biggest person in the room. I was afraid I would be the oldest person in the room. I was afraid of a lot of things. But I was dead-wrong. There was every kind of person, from all walks of life in that room. There were 92 very different individuals with 92 different bodies, faces, points of view, and personalities. It was an amazing experience that I will remember with love forever!

It takes 4-6 weeks for the results of the testing to arrive in the mail. The test was a couple weeks ago, so I now have 2-4 weeks left? I feel confident that I passed. I’ll find out soon enough!