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Two weekends ago, Kelly was off duty (the hubs works for Residence Life on campus) so we took advantage of a free weekend, and we went to Memphis that Saturday. It was a nice chance to have a date day which we hadn't done in a while. We have a pug who's fairly young, and I don't like to leave her on the weekends because I didn't get a dog to leave it alone all the time. Generally, Mearl goes where we go. Anyway, we took a small break and ran over to the zoo to see Memphis' famous new baby hippo, Winnie. They also have a new baby sloth named Lua, but she isn't out, yet. Fortunately, Winnie was out, and we were smitten. I also fed the giraffe. Kelly says Memphis has the right idea because they charge you 5 bucks for 4 lettuce leaves to feed the giraffes with.  He got in trouble by a volunteer for trying to pick up teeny pieces of lettuce leaves that kids had dropped to feed them with. Haha!

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Mama Binti and Baby Winnie


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Making friends

 We watched Winnie swim around for a while which was the most charming thing ever, and then, we were off to lunch at the Memphis restaurant City Silo Table and Pantry with vegetarian/vegan options, that a friend had posted about on Instagram. When I saw the photo of his food he posted, I thought, "I've gotta try this." Kelly and I both got the Buffalo Tempeh and Sesame Cauliflower Bowl with Zucchini Noodles per my friend's recommendation (he was actually there when we walked in), and it was so good. I mean, damn. I loved the cashew ranch, and I definitely plan on going back when we visit Memphis.
 

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My bowl with the Freshen Up Kombucha on the side


In other good food news, we just had a Natural Grocers open up in Jonesboro, and since we live in a small town in Northeast Arkansas, I'm so pumped excited (since when do I say pumped? WTH?) to have more vegetarian/vegan/clean eating options. I also go nuts over a good produce section so Kelly and I went to the opening last Wednesday. I got a lot of new stuff to try out, and I'll report back on all of it in the next few days. One thing we recently tried from The Truck Patch, another local health food grocery in town, is the Upton's Naturals Barb-b-que Jackfruit (they also carry it at Natural Grocers). Kelly said he liked it, and I LOVED it! We had both read about it in magazine articles recently, and it really does taste so much like pork! They have other flavors too that I'm going to have to try! I'm generally trying to stay away from depending on too many convenience vegetarian/vegan foods because they can get expensive and, at a times, unhealthy, but once in a while they're okay. This stuff is really good.

Wednesday night, I also picked up a new face wash. I want any new things I buy to be ethically sound/vegan/etc. if possible, and I was out of face wash. I hunted around and decided to try
Alaffia's Everyday Coconut Cleansing Face Wash. I'm happy to report, I also love that! It smells amazing to me, but it's definitely more earthy and not floral or coconutty. I prefer the scent though because I'm not a frou frou smell sort of gal so that just made me love it more. It foams nicely which I liked, too! On second thought, maybe it was lavender that I smelled in it. Either way, it smells good.

I also bought my first vegan lipstick.  I'd always wanted to try organic makeup without gross chemicals, but I'll admit, I remained skeptical on whether or not it would last/be bright enough, etc.  I rarely wear makeup anymore, but when I do, I don't want it to be some light crap.  I tried out
Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter in Blackberry.  This was most shocking to me because I loved it!!  It was bright and pretty, and it reminded me a lot of the famous Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey which I wore for years.  Now, I'm very fair so it definitely shows up pretty dark on me, but any way, I was pleasantly surprised.  It also lasted quite a while.  It's not a long wear by any means, but it didn't come right off in two seconds either.  I'm looking forward to trying other vegan makeups and cosmetic products now.  If any of you use them , let me know which brands are your favorites/what you recommend.  I'll post a photo later with the lipstick on so you can see the shade on me. 

This past weekend was Mother's Day so on Saturday we drove to Little Rock to celebrate with Kelly's mom and sister.  We grilled out, and I took the Tofurky Italian Sausage.  It was really good, and Ashley always has plenty of veggies so I knew I'd have sides.  She was a vegetarian for years, and she let me borrow a great cookbook, Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Cant' Live Without. We had a great time, and we did a little shopping, too.  We went to an Indian grocery, and I was able to finally get Indian Black Salt to add to my tofu scrambles.  I'm excited about trying that.  

Well, I didn't intend on making this all about food and such, but that's what's going on in my life so there you go.  

I'm reading a
great book on Bob Hope recommended by John Waters.  I've never seen Bob Hope on anything, and I didn't know anything about him but I trust John Waters.  He's made some great book recommendations, and I'm working my way through the other stuff on his list.  Now, I'm going to have to check into watching or listening to some Bob Hope stuff.  I'm also reading The Vegan Way: 21 Days to  Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You by Jackie Day which is pretty good.  

I guess that's about all for now, guys.  

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Through a dirty window in Oklahoma

Kelly and I are finally back from our road trip to New Mexico (it's actually been over a month now), and I'm even more in love with that state after visiting a second time. It's hard coming home for me. I always get depressed, and I want to talk about our trip, but then I'm just struggling to wade through day to day hum drum of being back to reality so I usually fail at it. Just know that I had the time of my life! I dream of moving there someday. It's stunningly beautiful, and I love and value the diversity. The food is the best. The art is everywhere. The people are kind, and the history is thick. The landscape is my favorite thing, though. It's the most beautiful place I've ever visited so far and that included several countries in Europe.

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Happy to my toes at White Sands National Monument

In other news, I used to take Polaroids with a
Spectra that I was in love with, and when they stopped making the film, I was heartbroken. I've purchased many cameras since then in the hunt for the next Spectra in my life. They have been unsuccessful, but I think I've finally found her. I got this in the mail, and I can't wait to start trying it out. If Kelly can set up our scanner at home, I might be able to post some photos here once I start snapping.

I'm attempting to be vegetarian, and I'm loving it so far! I've never been much of a meat eater at all, and I'm loving the new recipes I get to cook each week. I'd like to eventually attempt to become vegan, but I'm starting for a long time with just clean eating/vegetarian (long, long time). It's not for any ethical "meat is murder" reasons but more about my health. I know that meat eaters can be super healthy too, but I'm finding this to be easier for me. We'll see how it goes. I'm not doing it to lose weight so I haven't been weighing myself every day as I usually do. I just prefer the food right now, and it's easier for me to not eat shit when I do it this way. Why am I explaining myself? I don't owe you anything.

Kelly and I finished listening to the
S-Town Podcast a few weeks ago. We had been listening to one or two episodes every night in our living room. I joked that it reminded me of coming home and listening to an old time radio show. It was really wonderful, full of mystery, and heartbreak. I highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out, yet. As everyone has said, it reads listens like a southern gothic novel. It's special. It's also heartbreaking.

Because I am being disgustingly ungrateful at times, here are some things that make me happy:

1. We had a petting zoo at work recently as one of our final events for the semester (as I said, I work on a college campus so I never have to grow up). I made friends with many different animals, but my favorite was this camel.

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2. Everything is starting to bloom and come up in our yard. I'm so happy it's mushroom season again, and the rose bushes are blooming.

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3. Memphis date tomorrow with my love (we haven't been on a date-date in ages with art and vegan food and fingers crossed, a baby hippo)

4. Speaking of books, I'm over at
Goodreads (love new booknerd friends so feel free to add me), and I often get emails about giveaway contests for books I've shelved to read. I always enter them, but I never think I'll win anything. I won this week! I won The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I can't wait to read/review it.

5. Feeling better finally!  I've been sick all week, and yesterday evening/today is the first time I've felt back to my normal self.  

6. Mearl's birthday was a few Sundays ago. She turned one one, and we got her a pupcake. We had a birthday outfit. Yes, we're those people. See her below on Easter with her basket at Mom's house/birthday party photos.
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7. Meeting next Wednesday about my art deco/Erté tattoo I'm desperately wanting and beyond excited about

8.  
Farmer's Market back in business as of this Saturday

9.  New season of Twin Peaks coming up which I am beyond pumped about

10.  I want to live in this post. These photos feel close to my heart right now.

Anyway, I'm back, guys!  



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