Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End Of Summer Round Up

Well it's the end of August. Holy shit. What happened to summer? Oh yeah, it was hot and a time suck. Here's what happened during the time suck:

Remember how I was freaking out over finding a job? Well I ended up getting one...or two. I'm working 3 part time jobs now, hopefully 4 come this fall! So I've been busy to say the least. Who needs sleep? I have a bit of an announcement to make though. DRUM ROLL The boy and I decided to start our own vegan catering business!!! As of now we are just taking baking orders, so let me know if you are interested! We'll have a website and email address set up soon! Cookies, cakes, pies, cupcakes, etc..*. We are still tinkering with a name so we can start advertising appropriately, but we are definitely taking orders in the mean time. We are so excited!!!

I've also been busy with automobile issues. My car accident in May just led to my car slowly falling apart. Let's be real, it wasn't safe to drive after that accident. It was totaled. I didn't have a choice though. I kept the driving to a minimum but it ended up losing it's entire exhaust pipe on the fourth of July. Needless to say, we saw no fireworks. I was without a car for a while, riding the bus and borrowing my mom's ride since we work opposite schedules. Then my mom decided she wanted a new car instead of me getting a new car. She gave me her car...including the car payment I can't afford and the V6 engine that costs me an extra $20/week in gas. My old car was paid off and a 4 cylinder, I miss that lemon. But while I was without car, my friend and now roommate, @sarrillmerah, sugguested I take pictures to share of things I find along my walking travels. Unfortunetly most cool things happen pretty fast and I'm pretty burnt out so sometimes finding my camera in time is an after thought. But one of the best things I saw over the summer that I wasn't able to get a picture was of a bunch of guys slowly pulling up to a curb on a busy road to scope out an xbox 360 on the curb. Without coming to a stop, the kid in the backseat opened his door and they snagged the xbox. Other picture worthy moments that failed: me saving a puppy, countless people that walk the streets of Rochester, NY, hitchhikers in Ithaca, our first catering gig, before and after pictures of the house, the people in line for the porta-potty at CMAC and I'm sure, many, many other things!
War Memorial

Aqueducts in downtown 

Part of the old subway station. Now just a place for the homeless and graffiti  (closed 55 years ago this June, for more info go to http://www.rochestersubway.com)

Quiet night in the south side of the city

My mom also gave us her house. Ok, she didn't just give it to us. She moved out and left us with the payments and bills. I miss being downtown but I like it here. We are still technically the city, but pretty close to the suburbs. In all honesty though, we love it here. It's quiet, which is a huge difference from coming from a filthy house with musicians as neighbors and roommates playing poker till 5am. We've been busy since we moved in two months ago getting everything set up. We've painted, sanded, weeded and scrubbed...and there is still more to do! We ripped out all the carpet downstairs with my parents. I'm still waiting for our prize for surviving that, or rather, not killing anyone. Speaking of murder, we had to live with my mom for a few weeks too. Luckily, we all got out alive. But trying to move and unpack while the old tenants shit is still everywhere is beyond frustrating. I had visions of dumpsters and flames. She is just about all moved out and we are (I think) unpacked!  I snapped a few pics of the house to share with you. Our walls are still bare but we are getting there! Still waiting to unpack the time machine to get our summer back though. House warming party this fall???


Music Room

Sun Room


Living Room


More of the garden :)

We did get out a little this summer despite all the chaos between work and a new house, but leisure time was definitely limited. We saw Bootsy Collins at Party in the Park, Steely Dan at CMAC and went to Ithaca for a day trip.
Bootsy Collins

(sorry, these are from my phone)

Steely Dan


We went to the Punx Picnic this past weekend. It was quite the site! Heavy music, lots of leather, fucking moshing, broken glass flying, booze, drugs, motorcycles, public urination and lots of chasing and punching/stick whipping. Hoping it becomes an annual thing.
Janet Reno's Dance Party

Classic punk: kid pissing in an open field, with a family party in the next shelter over

I think 16 bands played overall, but I could be wrong

The other half of the park was covered in broken glass

When we weren't checking out music from all different genres, we did some baking and even more cooking! I tried out some new vegan recipes this summer too! When you spend a lot of time in a grocery store you can't help but drool over all the non vegan items (burgers and reese's, I'm talking to you!) but then I go home and realize I can make just about anything and being a vegan becomes easy again. Here are some of the things I made this summer that I was actually able to snap a quick picture of before they were inhaled. Not pictured: "meat"balls, punk cupcakes (they had a green mohawk!), red velvet cupcakes, mixed summer veggies from the garden in a lemon garlic sauce over pasta, eggplant parm and some kick ass, but melty, frosting...among others!
S'mores Cupcakes (there's a marshmellow inside!)

Black Bean Burgers

I'm not so sure if it's the almonds, coconut or the chocolate that bring me the most joy

*If you are interested about placing a baking order, please send me a DM on twitter. You can find some of the items we've made so far by clicking on the 'baking' or 'vegan' label to the right or by clicking here and/or here. Rummage around, like I said, a website is coming soon. All baked goods 100% vegan :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Even Alec Baldwin Can't Save You Now

There is a huge supermarket store about every 10 miles from one another out here called Wegmans. If you aren't familiar with the store, perhaps you remember Alec Baldwin mentioning it on Letterman. Since then Baldwin was contacted to make a few commercials.

Everything in our city is affiliated with Wegmans. I can remember attending grand openings as a kid and being excited when the "new big" Wegmans opened near our house. Then they started serving food, SUBS!!!!! This city went crazy, not only for Wegmans, but for their "old fashioned" subs. (Side note: I've never liked the subs.) The more recent additions to the store spread from beers from around the world to tea bars, veggie bars to wine bars and even restaurants. Wegmans had everything you needed and everyone shopped there. Notice the past tense. Wegmans used to have everything you needed.

We haven't shopped at a Wegmans in over a month and we plan to never shop there again. Why? Recently they started pulling brand names from shelves and adding more of their own brand. Simple things are now hard to find, unless you want a knock off that doesn't taste the same. That was the final nail in the coffin for us. But we had talked about starting to buy our groceries elsewhere before we noticed the product swap. Before they slowly and sneakily removed name brand products from the shelves they started to take apart the entire "nature's market" section (which included organic, vegetarian and vegan food) and spread it across the store. This became incredibly irritating for us since we are both vegan. We used to be able to run into Wegmans and grab just about everything we needed...fast. Now we would have to do a scavenger hunt to look for all our items, some where easy to find and sometimes we had to give up. For example, vegan soup is more than likely in the regular soup aisle now, makes sense. But it wasn't always that easy, haha, believe me. Maybe this was a good idea? Maybe Wegmans wants the customer to be exposed to more healthy options? I wish that was the case (and maybe it is) but upon looking for my soup, I discovered that they didn't just move my soup but they got rid of just about all the flavors. An almost two shelf selection was quickly reduced to four selections overnight. What the hell? Where's my soup?! It wasn't just the soup. Suddenly a trip to Wegmans was an instant headache. There was no bread or pasta we could buy anymore since Wegmans products were taking over and our grocery list from the store became smaller and smaller.

Then one day I was in another local, and sometimes forgotten, grocery store, Tops (it's hard to not think "Wegmans" in this city when you need groceries). I found myself in the pasta aisle and was surrounded by pasta on both sides. HOLY SHIT! LOOK AT ALL THE PASTA! We've been shopping at Wegmans for so long that we were used to only seeing one or two name brands surrounded by loads of Wegmans brands. I instantly started checking labels and what I found infuriated and excited me. Most of the pasta at Tops was vegan. There was nothing special about it, it wasn't organic and it didn't have a big V on the front of the box. It was regular pasta and (something Wegmans rarely does anymore)....it was on sale! Was I dreaming? I scoped out the oatmeal section next. SWEET JESUS! Wegmans now has just one box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal, the variety pack, surrounded by Wegmans brand oatmeal. Tops had what seemed like every flavor of instant oatmeal that Quaker squeezed out. Wanna know what else I found? BREAD! And it didn't cost $6 a loaf either! WTF was Wegmans doing? I hit the jackpot! They even had my soup! The Tops near our house has a lot of organic and vegan-friendly products. To be honest, a lot more than I thought they would. I look forward to going into Tops every week now and I'm excited we can have pasta again! I hope that Tops continues to carry organic products and more importantly (for us, at least) vegan-friendly products. We still have to travel into the city or across town from time to time to the smaller, more expensive, organic stores to buy our faux meat and cheese, but Tops already sells one kind of dairy free cheese, yogurt and veggie dogs and sausages! I can't wait for them to carry more!

I really don't understand what Wegmans is trying to do. When the organic products were scattered throughout the store I sent out some angry tweets. Wegmans saw them and responded. They told me that they would love to talk to me more about what was going on at the store. I was impressed and decided to reply back in a professional way (unlike the way I handled things with Verizon Wireless...I sent them a picture of a middle finger). Wegmans asked me to follow them on Twitter so we could DM one another. I did. After four days and no response, I stopped following Wegmans on Twitter and a few months later I have stopped shopping in their stores. I may sound bitter towards Wegmans and really, I'm sad about it. Wegmans really was awesome. It was a bragging right to visiting travelers. A one stop shopping store. I realize I may lose some friends over this, as quite a few work for Wegmans, but that's not why I wrote this post. I didn't write this to offend anyone at Wegmans. If any employees read this, I hope all these store changes lead to something good for the public. We are all people and we all live on Earth, let's take care of one another. Finally, I hope that the good people in Rochester, NY know that there are other options out there. Go to Tops, check it out. The one near us has way more cool stuff than any Wegmans in this area. In fact, that's a promise. If you need the address, I'd gladly give it you.

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