Friday, March 29, 2013

How Minimalism Made Moving Day Less Painful

I know it's been far too long since I have blogged. Since my last post, I have left my previous job that I held for nearly a year and half, started a new career in the marketing field, and have been packing up my apartment for a move on Saturday. Life has been busy and full of emotions lately! Leaving my old job was emotionally tolling on me and I felt like I was breaking up with everyone in the company. Starting my new position has been scary, fun, detail-oriented, and I am settling in quite nicely.

When I began looking for a new position, I wasn't sure what I'd be looking for. I knew I wanted to write, so I went into marketing and have been exercising my writing skills every day. When I applied for the job, I couldn't believe where it was located. I now work two doors down from my husband. It's weird running into him in the corridor and I'm not used to seeing him throughout my work day, but it's been great to run out for lunch together and enjoy a nice vegan sandwich. 

A couple of months ago, we started thinking about where we wanted to move. We love living in Austin, but the rent keeps creeping up. The Southwest Austin area has really grown in the last few years and we've been down here since 2009. I knew I wanted to stay down here but wasn't really sure how we would be able to find an apartment that was within our budget. If you've been keeping up with me, then you'll know that we have been aggressively paying down my husband's student loans and we knew we had to keep the budget tight on our new apartment. 

Luckily, I was able to find an apartment that is two miles west of where we currently live, nestled in the little suburb of Oak Hill, and only half of a mile away from where we both work. I couldn't be more thrilled to move and have been anticipating the packing part for some time now. I had been collecting free boxes from Spec's for weeks now, and also been filling a few to take to Goodwill. Tonight, just one full day before we start loading up a moving truck, I'm 99.9% done packing and we hardly have 40 small boxes of things. 

Now I know that sounds like it is too much, but I promise this is 1/3 of what we used to own! I had a bit of a shopping problem a couple of years ago and had no regard for the health of my bank account. If I wanted something, I would tell myself that I deserved it! (Why, I have no idea!) Since I watched Adam Baker's TED Talk, I realized that I don't need to bury myself in debt and more crap. I can proudly say we've been paying $1,000 per month for the last three months on the student loan debt and are projected to be completely out of debt in less than a year and a half.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

ATXFBA City Guide: Austin’s Healthy Vegan Eats

I've explored many new places to eat since going plant-based in February 2012 and wanted to share some of my favorites as part of the Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance’s City Guide! Check out the other vegan posts in the City Guide, including Lizz Delicious on Date Night, Red Hot Vegans on Desserts, and Lazy Smurf's Late Night Vegan Food.
Beets Cafe | 1604 W 5th St. - This upscale raw food always makes me feel super healthy. Among my personal favorites are the Raw Reuben and the Mock Tuna on Greens salad with a spirulina dressing. They also have a wide variety of desserts, which include pies, cookies, and cheezecake. There's plenty of parking in the garage behind it, so there's no worries about finding a spot during busy lunches.
Mother's Cafe | 4215 Duval St. - Their enchiladas can be made vegan and their Bueno Burger has been voted the best veggie burger in town. I can personally attest to their Sloppy Mama Joes and their vegan soups are always amazing. The ambiance is pleasant and the last time I visited there was a musician playing during our dinner. Check out their awesome desserts, too!

Casa De Luz | 1701 Toomey Road - With a menu that changes daily, you're always sure to be served a fresh meal cafeteria-style. One of the best things about this place: you pay and eat immediately. No waiting around! You grab a bowl of soup, a plate full of salad, and then you are given a huge entree plate. The communal eating is also a perk, and I've met many interesting people by sitting at a table that can seat eight.

Counter Culture | 2337 East Cesar Chavez - I've been to Counter Culture for every meal and have always been impressed with the food I received. If you're going to try them out for brunch, try the Stuffed French Toast with cashew cream. I used to visit this place for lunch with a friend and would get the Philly Seitan.  For dinner, I'd recommend the Pesto Rawviolis with a side of Roasted Root Vegetables. | Review

The Vegan Nom | 120 East North Loop-B - We stumbled upon this food truck recently and I couldn't how awesome their Rockin' Vegan Chili Con Queso is. The appetizer is more like chili than anything else, but it has an authentic taste that just blew my expectations out of the water. I've been craving it ever since! Try the Ranchera Luna, a tofu scramble with veggies and a smokey creamy chipotle sauce.

Schmaltz | 913 East Cesar Chavez - I discovered this place during a lunch break with some coworkers and we've been back many times since then. I am in love with the 'Harvey P' Seitan 'Pastrami' Reuben and their 'Frankenthaler' Falafel Wrap. Both are amazing and you can enjoy your food in a cozy little picnic area next to the trailer beneath a parachute. I also recommend the Classic Deli Potato Salad! | Review

Conscious Cravings | 1901 Rio Grande & 1311 South First St. - Once I had my first wrap at this food truck, I immediately began to crave another. We found out this trailer was serving vegan food and had to try them out. I love The Bella and my husband swears by the BBQ Seitan. I've also had the Mango Thirst Quencher and Stawberry Banana Thirst Quencher, both of which complement the wraps so well. | Review

Tarka Indian Kitchen | 5207 Brodie Ln #120 & 2525 W Anderson Ln #300 - When I have a craving for Indian food, I head to Tarka and know it will be quick and the portions will be large. The Roti bread tastes great and I can say from experience that it's hard to make at home. They have several vegan dishes and that alone keeps me coming back to try new ones each time. They also take the Go Local Austin card for 10% off your meal!

The Vegan Yacht | 1110 East 12th St - The 'Freeto' Burrito is their amazing signature meal and while the portion is massive, I have no problem eating it all in one sitting! The outdoor eating area is nice and the trailer has a retro feel to it and even features a large hipster octopus on the front. Be sure to check their website before heading over, as they are popular and tend to sell out of their food quick. | Review