Thursday, April 26, 2012

traveling vegan

Today was spent packing the car, putting together jewelry, and planning my menu for the weekend. Since becoming vegan it has been extremely challenging to eat while on the road. Actually part of why I became a vegan was due to the ease of eating poisonous crap while driving. Driving up or down the East coast? Hungry (or more likely bored)? Just wait 5 minutes and you'll be able to drive through a McDonalds and without even having to walk to the door you can have a double cheeseburger and giant chocolate milkshake. I'll admit it, I had a HUGE problem with my eating habits when going or returning from shows. Unless you plan ahead and pack your own food there is no easily accessible, healthy food located just off the highway.* Which is why I spent a few hours today preparing.

Usually the shows I do are located near a Wholefoods. If I'm staying in a hotel with a refrigerator I can pick up breakfast and lunch for the next day the night I get in to town. Unfortunately there are no Wholefoods in Athens. Time to drag out the cooler.

Thanks to a facebook friend I found this recipe for super yummy, pretty healthy OATMEAL BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. I made mine "mini" (drop the temp to 325ยบ and bake for 15mins) and now I have breakfast or snacks. The place I'm staying has a small fridge so I also packed cereal and a box of coconut almond milk. Have you triedBlue Diamond's vanilla coconut almond milk yet? I'm excited to give this a try.

Lunch will be udon noodles (high in protein!) and raw broccoli in a dressing made from soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, onion & garlic powder. The dressing will break down the broccoli and make it just a little softer. I also made a salad of cannellini beans, black olives, peas with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, dried sage & thyme. I know it might sound a bit odd but it is delicious!!

Other snacks will be veggie pirate booty, edemame, bananas, clif's builder chocolate mint protein bars, and a big bottle of my special vegetable juice (tomato, celery, beet, kale, carrot + a healthy dash of hot sauce). We have an amazing juicer, which has got to be my favorite purchase of the past year, but I do cheat and start with a base of 365 organic tomato juice.

Do you think I have enough food???

I plan to treat myself to at least one, possibly two, restaurant meals this trip. I've been told The Grit is good and very vegan friendly. I'll let you know if I make it there.

My goal is to be in Athens by 5pm. Wish me luck and please come see me at the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa if you're in town!

*I've found "healthy-ish" fast food exceptions to be Subway (if you ignore the fact that to the best of my knowledge the bread is not vegan) and Chipotle (which are still few and far between).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenge #1

This week I'm getting ready for The Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa. It's a small indie show held in the parking lot of a bike shop. This is the first year it runs for 2 days.

I'm not expecting a lot from this show due to the fact that not many artists who have done the show in the past are returning (dead give away). But when I lived in Atlanta 21 years ago I always meant to visit Athens and never got around to it. The show is very inexpensive and thanks to airbnb I found what looks to be an amazing place to stay for very little $.

So far the communication from the organizers has been great. They have a very nice website and seem to be doing a ton of promotion. So we'll see, I have been wrong in the past about how shows will go and I am really looking forward to the trip.

Here's where the challenge lies-a couple of days ago I received my space assignment and the map. It appears the row I'm in runs down the middle of the parking lot with a walkway in the back & front. Which means I can't (or shouldn't) have a back wall and there is no official "front" or "back" to my booth. I need to basically set up the booth in a hallway.

I *think* I know how to do it. I'll let you know how it went when I get back next week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 14-15, 2012 Festival on Ponce, Atlanta, GA

 I'm going to jump right in here with my first show review. I'll fill you in on more of my background later.

doot doo doo doooooooo MY FIRST SHOW OF 2012

From zapplication:
April 14-15, 2012
The 2012 Spring Festival on Ponce is a 2-day celebration of community and tradition presented by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, for people of all ages, races, customs and interests. The Festival is a major celebration of the arts while honoring the rich history of our community.

At this festival, there is something for everyone: Artist's Market featuring fine arts and crafts, a Children's Park, local food and beverage concessions and live acoustic entertainment.


Booth fee: $225
Double booth fee: $450
Corner upgrade: $75 (limited availablilty)
Electricity: $50 (limited availability)
Tent rental: $50


I live in Raleigh, NC and Atlanta is about a 6.5 hour drive for me. I don't mind driving, I like the alone time and last year I bought a new Honda Element that came with satellite radio so not matter where I am I have NPR & semi decent music to keep me company--alright yes, I do occasionally listen to "Dr" Laura, but only when I need to yell at someone. Usually I travel North for shows (DC, MD, VA) but having lived in Atlanta about 20 years ago I thought it might be a nice to see how much it's changed.

Thursday, April 12
Time to pack the car

It's a good thing I travel alone and am adept at puzzles.
Friday, April 13
8 am
I hit the road. And it's rush hour. How smart am I??
The drive to Atlanta from Raleigh is a straight shot down 85. Unless there is an accident on this road it's a pretty easy drive. I found there were plenty of rest stops (important!) but unless you enjoy fast food I recommend packing a lunch. Since I became vegan 2 years ago eating on the road and at shows has become a major challenge. I promise to share some secrets & easy recipes in a later post.
3pm I arrive! Not bad!
I checked in, got my welcome packet and a nice insulated bag and drove down to my spot.

This show is held in a beautiful chain of interconnected parks in the Druid Hills neighborhood. The booths are set up along walking paths running through the parks which meant we had to dolly in our booths.

Not fun.

3.5 hours later (!)......
And actually I didn't set up the jewelry until Saturday morning, so add another hour for the total car-to-functional-booth time.

7 pm
I'm off to find the Wholefoods and my hotel. I usually book my hotels through priceline. I've had really good luck with the "name your own price" option. For this show I booked the Hyatt Regency (one of my favorite chains), a 4 star hotel, for $56 a night (normally $234/night). What a bargain right? Sort of. When I got there I realized they only offered valet parking (ouch) and it cost $32/night. Plus they were hosting a dance competition so the lobby was full of little girls in booty shorts and full make up. Ugh. Ok, yes I watch DANCE MOMS, don't judge me but it's still shocking to see how the kids have to dress to dance.

The room itself was lovely. Relatively quiet and very comfortable. I can't complain. Unfortunately though I do find that the nicer the hotel, the less amenities you get. So no free wifi for me.

Saturday, April 14
Out of the hotel at 7:45am, swing by Wholefoods to pick up breakfast & lunch, and to the show by 8:30am to set out the jewelry.

10am the show officially starts.

The weather was perfect. Sunny, high 70's, NO RAIN. People are out enjoying their day, walking their well behaved dogs and well behaved children.

Let's talk about the dogs-
not one person had a "mutt". Not one. Every dog that came by my booth was a purebred or at least looked like a purebred. And if someone had more than one dog they had MATCHING dogs. No one had 2 different breeds. But wait--if the dog was under 30lbs people were WEARING THEM! In harnesses! It made for good people watching, and dog watching. It was very entertaining.

I had my own personal "fan girl" moment when Anne Choi (metal bead artist extraordinaire) bought one of my beads. 

Around mid morning on Saturday we all had some excitement. I looked up to see the crowd had gotten thick. There's a man in a dark suit, sunglasses, and an earpiece standing in front of me.

BUT THEN the most amazing thing happened. Better than a president! 
I won an award! 

Sure it was just for "best booth" but hey, I've been struggling with my booth for TEN YEARS. This booth was built last week. I nearly cried.

On Saturday the show went until 7pm. It could have closed at 6 and I think we all would have been happier. The crowds were light but steady all day which makes the day go by at a comfortable pace.

7:30 pm
Dinner time! I got take out from Soul 2 Vegetarian in Poncey-Highland. Mac-n-cheese, sweet potatoes, and collard greens. All vegan and all worth the 45 minute wait.

Sunday, April 15

The show doesn't open until 11am so I had time to find Dulce Vegan (the best raspberry hazelnut scone EVER).

Sunday was warmer and the "crowds" were lighter. Plenty of time to visit with my neighbors. One of the best parts of doing these shows is getting to meet artists from all over the country. It's a great way to find out about other shows.

6 pm
Tear down! It took about 2.5 hours to get everything packed. By the time I was ready there was plenty of space to move my car as close as possible.

9:30 pm
Eat, shower, bed.

About my show experience
the organizers of this show could not have been nicer or more accessible. They brought snacks and water to us 2x a day. When they realized there were not enough port-o-johns on Saturday more magically appeared on Sunday. The neighborhood is gorgeous with a mix of old mansions, a golf course, bungaloos, hippies, hipsters, old money, and not one pretentious person in the crowd. With my travel expenses I did manage to make a profit but not enough of one to do this particular show again. The organizers host a bunch more throughout the year in the metro Atlanta area and I plan to try at least 2 others. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 16
I left the hotel around 9 am, went back to Wholefoods for breakfast and lunch to go, then took a little driving tour around midtown where I lived (briefly) about 20 years ago. It's truly amazing to see how much Atlanta has changed. Midtown has been built up with tons of condos and restaurants, the traffic in Atlanta has got to be some of the worst in the country-and that's coming from someone who regularly drives in DC.

One thing Atlanta does have going for it is how vegan-friendly the town has become. I had lots of options which isn't always the case (hear that Greenville, SC???). I'm looking forward to going back later this year.

My next show is the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa. I've never been to Athens and it should be fun. Wait until I show you where I'm staying.
I'll leave you with this--there is a donkey involved.

let's try this again

I don't scrap book. I rarely take pictures. I never even wrote my daughter's name in her baby book.
I will try this blog thing...again...