Vegan Mofo: The Bottled Aperol Spritz

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Cheers! Welcome to Friday’s installment of It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

 On the roster this week is the Aperol Spritz.

Aperol is a lovely bright red liqueur, a slightly sweeter version of bitter Campari. It still has that mouth-puckering polarizing love-it-or-hate-it bitterness of Campari, but is more palatable to some tastebuds. I love both, and one of my favorite Aperol cocktails is the Aperol Spritz.

 

The Aperol Spritz is a blend of sparkling wine, Aperol, a splash of soda water and a slice of orange. Perfectly refreshing on a summer day(, fall day, spring day, or winter day).

 

When I arrived in The Netherlands, I noticed that grocery stores carried 4-packs of readymade Aperol Spritz bottles. My lucky day. Lucky country. Whatever.

 Bites from Abroad

I sampled them at my friend Mireilla’s birthday potluck. While not as fresh and effervescent of a freshly prepared Aperol Spritz cocktail, these bottles still had that sparkly sweet/bitter taste that I love. If this were readily available in the States, I would definitely pick these up from time to time. In addition to being an easy summer sipper, they’re just so adorable.

bites from abroad

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Vegan Mofo: Susan Nichole Toiletry Bag

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Vegan Mofo’s Wacky Wednesday has turned into Travel Packing Tips Wednesday. I’m glad it’s been helpful for you guys! The last two weeks I shared the travel backpack I recommend and the packing cubes that make traveling over an extended time infinitely more organized.

 

This week, I’m sharing something that will be very familiar to Vida Vegan Con 2013 attendees: my Susan Nichole bathroom toiletry bag.

 bites from Abroad

Susan Nichole, an American-made vegan handbag company, kindly donated bathroom toiletry bags to all Vida Vegan Con attendees who stayed in participating hotels. They also donated a beautiful vegan purse to the Galarama’s Silent Auction (which I would have LOVED to win).

 

Since I was leaving on my four month long international trip just two weeks after the wrap of Vida Vegan Con, this Susan Nichole toiletry bag was a savior.

 bites from Abroad

In it went all my bathroom goodies–shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, q-tip, mini sewing kit, fingernail polish remover pads, blue fingernail polish, lotion, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste and hair gel. There is one main compartment and two side pockets.

As the trip has gone on, I replenish what I need as it runs out. This bag is the perfect size for toiletries. Plus, I absolutely love that it’s vegan and has a classy black and white damask print design.

bites from abroad

From what I remember, these bags were designed especially for Vida Vegan and I don’t believe they’re available for sale on her website. But as I was just looking that up to be sure, I came across the sample sale page. If you are in the market for a good vegan handbag or wallet, check out the sample sale. And if you’re feeling generous, send one my way.

 

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Vegan Mofo: Travel Cubes!

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Wahoo! Happy Humpday!

 

I’m continuing the travel non-consumable theme of Wacky Wednesday. Last week I shared the best travel backpack I’ve ever used. This week I want to show you guys travel cubes.

travel cubes

My Osprey loaded with travel cubes

 

When I first came across these in my travel prep research, I thought they were one of those things that served absolutely no point and I would regret buying. Why buy cubes to put your clothes into? Why not just skip the middle man and put your clothes directly into your backpack or suitcase?

Well, friends, the super high reviews on Amazon convinced me otherwise. I bought a 3 pack of difference sizes, in blue (because blue is the color of my life) and immediately loved them.

 The smallest cube is my favorite. If I were to do it again, I’d buy three of the same size small cubes. The largest I didn’t even end up taking. The cubes fit nice and snug in your luggage.

Everything fits nice and snug with travel cubes

Everything fits nice and snug with travel cubes

They have mesh so you can see what exciting clothes you’ve been wearing all day every day, and there are also handles for easy transport. I found the best way to really back my clothes in: roll up each item, and smush it down to the bottom. As you keep adding items, start moving the zipper up, so it becomes self-contained.

 

These little guys help me save room and keep me organized. In the smallest one, I fit 21 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of tights, 2 bras, and a pair of bike shorts. In the middle-sized cube, I fit 3 dresses, 4 long-sleeved shirts, 3 short-sleeved shirts, 4 tank tops, 1 pair of shorts, 2 skirts, 3 cardigans, 1 pair of running shorts, 1 running tank, a swimsuit and a pair of pajamas. That leaves only my shoes, a scarf and toiletries.

 

Magic.

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Vegan Mofo: Thyme Chocolate Bar

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Hello and good morning! Welcome back to Monday’s Sweet Treats. Last week I shared with you the sweet and creamy peanut butter cookie milkshake from Cookies & Scream in London. This week we’re moving over the The Netherlands; to The Hague, the capital.

The Hague

The Hague

 

One of my best friends, Mireilla, was a foreign exchange student from Rotterdam to my tiny little high school in Cave Junction, Oregon back in 1997. We hit it off right away, and have kept in touch and seen each other occasionally since. This trip marked the first time I was able to visit her. She and her boyfriend hosted me for 10 days, and were the best hosts ever. Turns out things are a little different in the Netherlands; on your birthday YOU supply the cake, and when you host friends, you treat them. They were lovely wonderful hosts, and when I ventured into The Hague one day to explore, I stopped into a specialty tea shop to buy a thank you present.

 After I found some delightful tea blends, I came across a thyme, flax seed and quinoa crisp chocolate bar from the chocolate company Newtree. Sure enough, it’s vegan. There is no way I’d ever not buy a vegan chocolate bar with thyme in it. Duh.

bites from abroad

The taste is something altogether different. It takes a square or two to get used to, but then it gets seriously addictive. The crunchy quinoa and flecks of flax are a perfect balance to the herby fragrance of the thyme.  The thyme itself makes me think it’d be the perfect sweet bite after an Italian pasta dinner. Not that I gave it the chance; I basically ate it all within 2 days, furtively popping squares from my purse into my mouth for that elusive taste of sweet thyme chocolate.

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