She's a Brave. He's a Ray. HOUSE DIVIDED!

This past weekend was stressful to say the least. The Atlanta Braves were in town scheduled for inter-league play against the Tampa Bay Rays. Long story short, I am a die hard Braves fan and Sean is the same for the Rays. We knew from the very beginning of the season that this weekend would be trouble and a house divided. We have a cat named Chipper Jones, enough said! (He's even on youtube watching a Braves game from my college years!)


We decided against going to the game on Friday because of work schedules and traffic getting to Tropicana Field. When I heard Chipper (my other man) was in the night's lineup, I panicked! I've been Chipper's biggest fan for over 10 years and I know how the man works. Let's be real, he has a knack for getting injured. My prediction, "Chipper's going to play tonight and will probably get hurt. So hurt he won't play on Saturday or Sunday."

The regret of not going to the game started with a standing ovation honoring Chipper in the beginning of the game. 

In the bottom of the third, Rays' player, BJ Upton, brought truth to my prediction. Chipper would be out for the reminder of the series with a bruised calf. I KNEW this would happen! Here we were, tickets for Saturday's and Sunday's game in hand but no Chipper to see. More regret. At least the Braves won 5-3.


We had tickets with our (Rays fans) friends, Jon and Katie and headed out early to tailgate. 

I quickly learned that I didn't like being an opposing team's fan or the feeling of being outnumbered! Thankfully my sweet husband (who was just talking trash to me) grabbed my hand and off we were to find our seats. Ironic that we're both wearing jerseys of our favorite third base players who are both currently on the disabled list?

 That game didn't go so well for us Braves fans. There might have been a grand slam hit from the Rays to seal the game's fate. Rays won 5-2.


The game started with a video tribute to Chipper that gave me chills as I held back tears. Both Rays fans and Braves fans stood up, clapped, and cheered as Chipper stepped out of the dugout to be honored. It was an amazing moment that is slowly preparing me for Chipper's final games.

During the top of the seventh inning, Atlanta's Michael Bourn hit a foul ball ... to us! 

And, then we were on TV!

 Braves won 2-0 and took the series! Yippie!!

The Battle of the (Vegetarian) Veganista

“Vegetarian veganista?” you might say. Why yes, that is me! You see there has always been no secret of me being a vegetarian and choosing to not eat meat. My diet/lifestyle has been in the works for years and by now, my friends and family are used to me being complicated when we go out to dinner.

It might sound a little like this between the server and myself, “May I order the Calypso Shrimp Linguine but with the shrimp of the side and add broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms?” (The shrimp on the side is for my husband, duh!) … almost always the server asks, “Are you a vegetarian?”

Don’t worry, I worked in the restaurant industry for years and know how both customer and server etiquette should work. I always ask nicely for my complicated requests and the servers have always been awesome.

So where does this “veganista” come into play?

This one time at an animal rescue dinner event, our entrée choices were: chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan (vegetarian option), and spaghetti without tomato sauce (vegan option.) You ordered your meal way ahead of time when tickets were purchased and I selected eggplant parmesan. I was served spaghetti. (Enter: reassuringly checking my ticket, clearly seeing eggplant parm.) When I politely pointed out the incorrect order to the server, he was confused as to why a vegan would eat cheese. Who said I was vegan? Not me! After much discussion in the kitchen (if you’ve ever been to Buca, you know that kitchen is wide open!) I was finally served what I ordered.

Here comes dessert. I was served carrot cake instead of cheesecake because I was “vegan.” Gimme that cheesecake because I AM NOT VEGAN!

I got my cheesecake and my family and I joked about my new diet for the rest of the night.

A few months after my vegan Buca run in, I learned how naïve my vegetarian lifestyle was all because of parmesan cheese. Ironic, right? I cringe at that word because it has been forever emblazoned in my brain as something evil and now disgusting. In short, cheese is not vegetarian. Which lead to learning milk is not vegetarian. And finally, eggs are not vegetarian. Even dairy cows end up being served at McDonald’s with the egg laying chickens. Need further clarification? Go do some research. It’ll be life changing.


And let personal war wage inside me. I gave up meat to not take part in horrific factory farming practices but all the while I was still a contributing factor with my organic dairy purchases. I also learned that the words “organic” “cage free” and “free roaming” don’t mean squat. I'm not okay with the idea that an innocent animal had to die a horrible death just so I can eat. No thanks. 

So, the questions that beg to be answered are “why didn’t I put two and two together all these years” and “why didn’t anyone tell me?”

Some days I think being a vegetarian is a joke and you might as well eat meat. The way I see it, there should be two black and white diets: meat eaters and vegans. Other days, I drive myself INSANE when I check food labels. The one item that infuriates me is non-dairy coffee creamer. Assuming I was safe, I bought it. No, “contains milk” was listed right on the back of the bottle. It was then I became a label reader. And heads up, milk or milk products (i.e. casein) are in a TON of food products.

Photo from: Daniel Vitalis
So where do I draw the line between sane and insane? It’s a struggle that I go through every day especially since my husband, Sean, is a meat eater and will always be one. I just have to find out what works for me especially when eating at restaurants. My biggest worry is I don’t want people to be inconvenienced by me. Honestly. I went to a wedding once where the groom panicked after dinner while talking to me. “OMG, we completely forgot you were vegetarian. Did you get enough to eat?” Ah, my heart wanted to break because the sweet bride and groom had much more important things to think about on their wedding day than what I had to eat. Don't you worry! I’ll be fine.

When I cook and bake, the transition has been a bit easier. Replacing actual milk has been relatively easy because there are many alternatives out there. Sean and I really like Almond Breeze’s Vanilla Almond Milk and I love Silk’s coffee creamers. Butter has been super easy to replace because our butter was already actually vegan, Smart Balance Light. I’m still working on the egg replacer and determining when I should be binding or leavening!

 Sean has been amazing and so supportive of my struggle. It is a HUGE step when he tries my vegan cooking/baking. I have even received the “Sean-Approval” on many of my dinners and bakings which really makes me feel great! I've even noticed that I'm feeling better with less stomach aches and my headaches are gone. I’m not sure I can ever fully commit to a vegan lifestyle which leads me to really respect those that do. It’s a tough lifestyle in an unforgiving world but I do feel like I can make conscious decisions to have a better and kinder lifestyle as a vegetarian veganista!

Happy (Cat) Mother's Day!

My sweet kitties "cooked" me breakfast, picked up fresh flowers, and hand selected a sweet card for me for Mother's Day. I'm the luckiest!

Winter & Her Dolphin Tale

Sean and I are so fortunate to visit our favorite celebrity any time we want. Who might that be?

Winter the dolphin! 

If you have never heard her story, lucky you can now go get Dolphin Tale from Redbox or Netflix. It is incredible! And after you see the movie, go visit her in Clearwater at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. A movie museum has recently opened with movie props and behind-the-scenes tidbits. One of the best parts, getting to take a free boat ride from the museum to the aquarium

When you step off the boat, you're very familiar movie scene prop (minus the kayaks!)

Sting rays greet you as you walk into the hospital.

Then we found Winter! She had just finished her show and was about to have her "tail" removed. We learned that her "tail" is like physical therapy and she doesn't always wear it. Panama was swimming in the tank next to Winter. 

This sweet turtle, Titus, cannot hold his breath very long nor dive very deep so he has a permanent home at the aquarium. 

And this is Nicholas. He played in the movie as female dolphin alongside Panama. He was just a baby when he was rescued with his mom, Noelle, on Christmas Eve. Nicholas puts on an amazing show with his learned tricks and behaviors.

We are already looking forward to going back! See you soon Winter and friends!

Happy Birthday, Sean!

Looks like someone is excited to see Coldplay!

What's a birthday without dinner at Bonefish with great friends?

A Few Pictures, A Few Thousands Words

Goodness, y'all! To say we have been busy is an understatement! Between Pinterest projects, weddings, new diets, Sean studying for grad school, and baseball games there hasn't been a moment where I feel like sitting down to write. Bear with me during my blog hiatus! Here's a few thousand words via recent pictures :)

And Pinterest strikes again! Going clockwise...

*Easter Butter Cake Cupcakes - OMG good!
*Our sweet wedding cards are finally all neatly together
*Our wedding vows that we each wrote to one another
*Who doesn't love a hydrangea wreath? So Southern!

Introducing... Skinny Bitch the Book of Vegan Swaps! Okay, so I'm not committing to a full vegan lifestyle {yet} however after all my research and new found knowledge of the benefits, it's can't hurt to improve my diet. Plus this book is amazingly written and hilarious! So um, no more butter cake cupcakes?!

Clockwise again...

*Mr. and Mrs. Phillips on Easter
*One of my best friends, Rosalie, is getting married and I get to stand up with her!
*My heart still belongs to the Braves but I like the Rays as an American League team
*Beautiful wedding cake of our dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. Davison

Okay yall, that's it for now ... I'll be back soon!