Browsing Category

Travel

Travel

Europe 2016

I spent June, July and August in Europe this year of 2016. I was working as an Au Pair (a nanny) in Italy for two months, and then I traveled to Greece with my mum who flew out to meet me. I also went to Monaco and France during my stay. Here are my photos! Enjoy 🙂

IMG_6283 2016-06-19 006 2016-08-19 004 2016-08-19 002 2016-08-19 003 2016-06-19 100

IMG_6087 2016-06-26 174 2016-08-19 006 2016-06-27 010 (2) 2016-06-25 147 2016-06-27 018

2016-07-04 005 2016-07-04 002 2016-07-03 089 2016-07-02 016 2016-07-04 020 2016-07-10 169 2016-07-11 003 2016-07-11 026 2016-07-15 005 2016-07-17 020 2016-07-17 042 2016-08-19 007 2016-08-19 008 2016-08-19 009 2016-07-24 059 2016-07-24 073 2016-07-31 041 2016-07-31 050 2016-07-31 060 2016-07-31 077

2016-08-19 011 2016-08-05 083 2016-08-05 093 2016-08-05 089 2016-08-05 101 2016-08-05 105 2016-08-08 086 2016-08-08 084 2016-08-19 017 2016-08-19 013 2016-08-13 058 2016-08-14 006 2016-08-14 009 2016-08-14 027  2016-08-14 008 2016-08-14 106

Advice Travel

Vegan in Italy/Travel Tips

I’ve had quite a few people ask me this question: is it difficult being vegan in Italy? The answer is simple: no.

Being vegan is honestly as easy or as hard as you make it. For me, eating plant based foods is second nature, so wherever I go, whatever I do, I seek and eat plants. And for the most part, everywhere has some sort of plant based foods.

I’m currently living in Europe for three months working as an Au Pair (a nanny) for an Italian family. Since I live with them, they buy my food and make my meals, for the most part. (I make my own breakfast, and usually lunch I do with the children, then the mum makes us all dinner)

2016-06-16 023

We were sitting down eating lunch today, and the mum said to her husband’s parents that she thought it would be much more difficult having a vegan live with them, but it’s not. It’s super easy. She explained how I mainly just eat pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. She buys me fruit every week (bananas, melon, etc), and they also buy me a huge bag of granola and hazelnut milk every week. So that’s pretty much what I eat here. And also bread. Lots of bread.

As far as traveling goes, it’s been quite easy/second nature for me. A BIG part about being vegan is planning ahead, packing snacks, and just being prepared. You can’t go on a day trip and pack nothing. Even non-vegans shouldn’t do this. Since I was young my mother always packed snacks and water for day trips, so it’s basically instilled in me to do so. I’m always like the mum of the group because I literally carry everything in my backpack: snacks, bandaids, hand sanitizer, tampons, hand wipes, earphones, tissues, pens, hair elastics, chapstick, water, etc.

CINQUE TERRE

2016-06-19 068

The first weekend I was here, I hiked through Cinque Terre (which took us 7 hours to go through the towns). I brought with me: 3 peaches, 5 rice cakes, half a bag of snap peas, and a lara bar. When we stopped in the first town, I had two peaches, and then fortunately for me, there was a shop that had fresh focaccia (a delicious type of bread here), for 1 euro each. So I got two pieces.

2016-06-19 075

Also during this day-trip I bought gelato, and also we went to a restaurant for dinner and I got pasta. For my snack before this I had my rice cakes and snap peas, and that was about it! You see, it’s not that difficult being vegan because you can either just get pasta, or rice/vegetables of some sort. Or if you’re lucky, you can ask your server at the restaurant if they can make you a pizza with no cheese, extra vegetables.

2016-06-19 095 2016-06-19 062 FAQ

Is pasta egg free?

YES. So far all of the pasta’s I’ve had have been egg free. Same with the bread. The only thing they really put on bread and everything is olive oil.

What if the pizza crust has egg or milk?

JUST ASK! 🙂 If it does, get pasta or something else. If it doesn’t (which usually it doesn’t), then get pizza!!

How do you find vegan restaurants while traveling!??

https://www.happycow.net/

Literally just search anywhere in the world and if there are vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan OPTIONS, it will tell you!! So awesome. I also contacted people who live in said cities I was going (through instagram) and asked for recommendations. xx

How do you get vegan gelato?

I’ve found that the majority of places in Italy have vegan options. When you go in, just ask “do you have dairy free?” or “vegano?” and they’ll understand. Every single place usually has at least a few vegan options, which are usually the fruit ones and dark chocolate.

2016-06-10 214

NOTE: Everything costs money, from using the washroom (either having to purchase something, or literally paying 50 cents in a machine), to water. Luckily in most cities there are water fountains outside somewhere, you just need to find them. The water is very clean in Italy and you can drink it from the tap, so I’d sometimes fill up in washrooms where I was able, just to get some cold water. (Desperate times call or desperate measures, folks, and I don’t spend money if I don’t have to. I haven’t bought water once since being here. I always manage to somehow get it. And trust me, I drink TONS of water… like 5 litres a day haha)

ROME

2016-06-26 172

The next place I traveled to was ROME! Rome had so many vegan restaurants it was hard for me to narrow down which ones to visit. I will list a few below:

Universo Vegano (vegan fast food)

Mathura Resraurant

Op’s (vegan buffet)

CamBio Vita (gelato, crepes, vegan cookies)

Ginger (acai bowls)

Bio’s Cafe

I stayed in an airbnb. The lady was a college student and didn’t have much food at her place. When I first arrived, she asked if I was hungry. (It was like 10pm and I had been traveling all day, so YES) I told her I was vegan, and she said, “that’s fine, my friend here is vegetarian!” She gave me a big salad she had just made for dinner with all the fixings, and then some crackers and bread. Because I’m smart and pack snacks, I had with me: 1 cantaloupe for breakfast the next morning, as well as 1 cut up pineapple for the train ride, and also strawberries and cherries. I also brought in my suitcase dates, saltine crackers, rice cakes, and bread. You want snacks that will fill you if you’re traveling and hungry. Bless bread because it’s pretty filling.

On the Saturday, a few girls I met through Instagram and I went to Op’s vegan buffet for lunch.

2016-06-27 006

2016-06-25 155

We got gelato during the day (literally so many dairy-free options for gelato in Rome), and then by the time I got home, it was after 8pm.

2016-06-27 017

I asked the girl I was staying with if there was somewhere nearby I could grab dinner that was a) close b) vegan c) cheap. Luckily for me, she directed me to a little pizza joint up the street that is well-known for being affordable. I went there, simply asked for no cheese and extra vegetables instead, and voila. It was 6 euros and it was awesome.

2016-06-25 154

During my solo travels on Sunday, I went to CamBio Vita and got gelato and a vegan cookie. It was very delicious. They also do crepes there.

2016-06-27 036

MONTE CARLO

2016-07-04 003

I spent a whole day in Monte Carlo, Monaco as I was traveling to Nice for the weekend to visit my vegan friend VICTORIA who I met through Instagram over a year ago. As usual, I looked up ahead of time any vegan restaurants in Monaco, and also Victoria mentioned this one vegan restaurant that just opened in Monte Carlo, so I decided to go!

It was a bit pricey, but it’s Monaco – the land of the rich and famous. It’s whatever.

2016-07-02 011

NICE, FRANCE

2016-07-03 003

Well since I stayed with my friend, who is also vegan, it was easy to have breakfast and or dinner with her. But there were a couple vegan restaurants (or restaurants with vegan options) in the city that I found through Happy Cow. There was this one called Vegan Gorilla that we were planning on going to Saturday night, but we didn’t get around to it. Instead, we got sushi.

2016-07-03 013 

Again, I packed lots of snacks during the day. Although I didn’t eat enough on Saturday during the day, and on Sunday I felt very weak and lightheaded. This shows how vital it is to ensure you’re eating enough and giving your body that energy and nutrients it needs! FOOD IS FUEL!

On Sunday we went and got Socca, which is famous in Nice. It’s just chickpea flour, water, and olive oil. And it was amazing. Also many dairy-free options for Gelato. But it was fairly pricey, I found, compared to Italy.

2016-07-03 085

VENICE

Okay, now this is where it gets kind of interesting.

2016-07-11 003

I never say that it’s hard being vegan (because its not, its like first nature to me to avoid foods with animal products) but in Venice, there were hardly any vegan options!! It wasn’t a problem for me because I packed lots of snacks and stuff that’s good for travel (apples, granola, saltine crackers, rice crackers, banana, dried mango, bread, etc) However when I had to find dinner on the Saturday night, it was kind of a hassle to find CHEAP vegan food. Because everything is soo expensive in Venice (vegan or not), because it’s super busy and packed with tourists. They charge you for everything, from using the bathroom, to even sitting in the restaurant. Also I should note that in Canada, it’s illegal to deny someone water. You can go into any ANY store or shop and ask for water (tap water) and they have to give it to you. But in Italy, even tap water costs money. So I always filled up at water fountains outside or in bathrooms. (The water is very clean to drink)

ANYWAYS, my point is, Venice is very expensive. The cheapest place I found was a lil shop that had cheap Italian food. I got pasta with vegetables for 7.50€ and took it to go because it was cheaper than staying at the restaurant. The portion was fairly small but managed to fill me, then i just had little snack after.

2016-07-10 140

The next day for lunch we found a restaurant and the menu literally had just plain pizza with tomato sauce (no cheese) (cheese is more expensive HA!) so it was already vegan. It was 7.50€, pretty thin crust, but i folded it in half like a lil panini and it was good. Also noting that this menu offered cheap sides such as potatoes, rice, vegetables, and salads. So worst comes to worst, just get a few sides and make it a meal.

2016-07-11 031

Other than those two meals, I didn’t buy anything. I just ate the food that I packed with me. The hostel we stayed in had a lil breakfast for guests the next morning, and when I asked the man if there was fruit, he said no….

Luckily there was bread and jam, so I made sure they were both vegan and had like 6 pieces for breakfast. It was fine with me because any food is good food when you’re hungry. I’m just not used to eating a diet that consists of hardly any raw meals. Back at home I eat fruit for breakfast every single day, have fruit for lunch, then vegetables throughout the day as well. But you know what? You can’t be picky when you’re traveling, so it’s something that you just need to get used to. I will binge on fruit and smoothies and nana ice cream once I’m home.

Last thing about Venice: there were hardly any vegan gelato options!! Every single city I’ve been to has had dairy-free gelato, but in Venice, every single place I asked said no.

GENOVA

I’m currently staying in a little village called Borzonasca, which is inside a large city called Genova. However, I don’t go into the city very often – only when catching the train. The closest little town to Borzonasca is Chiavari. This girl that I know told me that there is a vegan bakery somewhere in Chiavari, so I googled until I found it. It turned out to only be a 5 minute walk from the station. It’s called Sweet Dreams American Bakery. Yesterday was my birthday, so I started my day off there and literally had cake for breakfast hahaha. It was amazing.

2016-07-17 012 2016-07-17 013

After the bakery, I spent the day wandering and exploring the beautiful seaside of Santa Margherita and Portofino. After that, I headed into Genova to go to a vegan restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was called La Cucina di Giuditta. It was VERY fancy and expensive, which I didn’t know until getting there. But since it was my birthday, I let it slide. (Normally I go places as cheap as possible haha).

It was actually an accidental find. Because originally I had plotted out my night and planned to go to this other vegan restaurant. But once I got there, it was closed!? (Even though the website said it would be open frmo 7:30-10). But anyway, I had to think quick and find somewhere soon because I was starving and it was nearing 7:00pm. I didn’t have much data on my phone, but it was a semi-emergency, so I did a quick Google search, found La Cucina di Giuditta, saw it was only an 11 minute walk from my current location, and I headed off there.

2016-07-17 047

Unfortunately the menu was in Italian and I couldn’t understand a thing hahaha. I kindly asked the waiter for recommendations, to which I finally decided on this THING which I do not even know the name, but it was some sort of concoction of tofu, potatoes, and a bunch of other stuff?? It was 14 euros.. oh my.

So fancy though. Before they brought out my meal, they brought this cute little appetizer thing, as well as freaking SANGRIA. I was living it up for my bday.

Then for dessert I decided to treat myself (you only live once, right?) and got a chocolate cake for 8 euro. wowzers. It was so amazing though, with creme on top and cherries and shredded chocolate inside. MMMM.

2016-07-17 049

I only have two more weeks here in Italy (wow the time just flew by), and then I’m headed to GREECE for 2.5 weeks.  But before I leave Italy, I’m going to Milano next weekend, as well as Verona. Then the following weekend I will go to Camogli, Pisa, Florence, maybe? Who knows. Stay tuned.

If you have any questions at all regarding traveling europe or italy, or vegan tips while being here (that aren’t already covered in this lengthy post) feel free to comment below and I will try to respond as soon as I can.

To keep updated on my travels or see what I eat, I have a playlist of my travel diaries here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrRQPQr7yPU0Tqh-Yua9KBKMZYcL65nB_

Lots of love,

Katrina xx

 

 

Personal Travel

Travel Diaries: Australia 2015

Usually when I travel, I bring my little pen and travel journal. This time, I left it at home and decided to vlog and write in my phone instead. So I’ve been recording all the fun stuff and scenery which you can see on my Youtube channel, and I’ve also been writing notes in my phone. I don’t ever plan to write, and I don’t set a specific time, or worry if I don’t write for a week. I only write once I have a spark of inspiration ignite in my brain.. then it all just flows.

Journals


Journal Entry #1 | June 20th, 2015

I’ve learned a few things since traveling alone on the other side of the world. The first is that you can’t do things to please other people. If you do that, you’ll never be happy. Put your own wants and needs first sometimes and stop trying so hard to make everybody else happy when all it’s doing is bringing you down. The second is, that if you want something in life, you should get it. Whether that be a new car, some vegan cupcakes, or to see the world. Anything can be possible if you try to make it be. Go out their and follow your dreams; make them into a reality. Because one day you could wake up and your entire world could change. Don’t forget that. The third thing so far is that $2000 isn’t that much money in the grand scheme of things. I mean, sure, I may have used up all of my savings, but when i’m 80 years old, I will have spent far more than $2000 and that money will be irrelevant. Do it; live. Now.
 
Mini entry | June 21st
For years I didn’t cry. I never felt the need to. And I thought that was a good thing. But now I understand that tears are not a sign of weakness; they are a by-product of strength and courage. And holding them in only makes it harder. And now I know that it’s good to let your emotions out, and genuinely understand how you feel.
 
2015-06-21 041
Mini entry | June 22nd
Wearing makeup makes some people feel good. Not shaving their arms or legs makes others feel good. Eating 100% organic makes people feel good. Eating chocolate and fries makes others feel good. Wearing “clothes of the opposite sex” appeals to some people. Pretending to be African American appeals to some people. People’s bodies are THEIR bodies. What THEY choose to do with their bodies should not concern anybody else. Let them be, and just do you.
 
Journal Entry #2 | June 26th, 2015
I wrote journal entry #1 on a train, and here i find myself again on a train, inspired to write some more.
 

I always say that everything happens for a reason, and I truly, whole heartedly believe that. I believe in the Universe and that whenever I’m in need, it helps me out and points me in the right direction. Everything that happens to me is not a mistake or coincidence, but a perfectly well timed occurrence in my destiny of life. Even the bad things that happen serve some purpose, meaning, or lesson in our lives, even if we don’t understand them.

 
Everything on my trip has been working out perfectly so far, and for that i am grateful. Even when I don’t have something planned out and panic, it always works out fine in the end.
 
Today I got on the wrong train and went in the opposite direction I needed to go to catch my connecting train at another station. I felt scared and panicked at the time- being in such an unfamiliar place and not knowing what to do. But sitting on my correct train now, looking back at my situation, I missed that train for a reason.
 
Back at the train, I quickly realized I had gotten the wrong train, so I got off at the next stop. A asked for help and a few men who worked for the train station helped me. There was this one man, who now I know his name is Gavin, helped me out and told me what I needed to do. He had to take the same train as me so together we sat there and waited for 30 minutes until it came. We chatted about traveling and Australia and he told me so many things I didn’t know. He was an older man, maybe in his early 60’s. 
 
Then we caught the next train and chatted for another 30 minutes. This time he told me about his life. His daughter is an opera singer, but she’s also blind. Then he casually mentioned how his wife Maura gives him this certain type of honey because he’s dying from a terminal illness.
 
That’s when I froze. Did I hear him correctly? How do you go about asking someone what they are dying from?
 
He explain it all to me and said how he’s pretty accepting of the situation now. But he said a few things to me that made me realize why I missed that first train. He said that you just have to live life each day like nothing has changed. He said you have to be kind to other people, and that everybody now a days is just competing with each other and it’s such a cruel world out there. 
 
I told him that’s the reason I’m traveling Australia- because you could wake up one morning and your world could change. So i’m doing this now while I still can.
 
I hope you can all take a small lesson away from all of this. Everything happens for a reason. The people you meet and talk to are no coincidence. And finally, you need to live in the now and appreciate your life while you still have it. Never take a breathe of air, or a train ride for granted. 
bli bli (4)
Journal Entry #3 | June 27th

Well would ya look at that, I’m on a plane now. Heading to Sydney as we speak. I swear to you that I have the best luck when it comes to airplane seats. I kid you not, every single time i fly (okay, like 98% of the time) i have no one in the seats beside me. And the rest of the plane is full. And no matter WHERE i’m located on the plane, the seats beside me are empty. How awesome? 

 
Okay, next thing on the agenda tonight is fate, regarding to my last entry.
 
So I got the the airport a bit (a lot) early, and waited around then tried to switch to an earlier flight since mine was delayed half n hour. The flight i could have went on was delayed as well, and she said that if i switch and that flight gets delayed even more, i cant switch back. So i stuck to my original flight that left at 6:30. 
 
Anyways, the flight got delayed again till 6:45. So while i was waiting, i told the lady next to me that the flight was delayed. Long story short, it sparked a 30 minute conversation that kept us busy while we waited.
 
So sometimes I get upset when i miss trains or have delayed flights; but then i realize that traveling is all about the people you meet and the conversations you have. The lady’s name was Tess and she said she traveled the world when she was in her 20’s, and the best experiences were the ones that were unplanned and where you got completely lost. Because hey, it’s all about the adventure. 
 
Journal Entry #4 | July 2nd
 
So this one I’m actually typing on my laptop right now. But basically I just wanted to share my experiences from the past week.
 
I landed in Sydney on Saturday night. I was supposed to take the train to my hostel that I booked super last minute (5 hours before) because of a change of plans. Someone told me that the train was going to be $2.50, to $5.00, so I was like, all good. But when I got off the plane and walked down to the train station, the lady at the booth told me the ticket to where I needed to go would be $17.
 
I know that may not sound like a lot to some people, but honestly, for someone who was expecting it to be $5.00, and knowing it’s only a 20 minute train ride away – I was shocked and didn’t know what to do.
 
I panicked and paced around, weighing out my options. After 15 minutes of calling my hostel with no answer, I finally decided to just say screw it and take the train.
 
I have never stayed in a hostel before, so this was my first time. I chose the cheapest one, because like I said, I booked it last minute and only needed a place to sleep for the night. When I got there, I received such bad vibes. The paint was falling off the walls, it smelled kind of bad, and it was just creeping me out. The people at the desk gave me this tiny little blanket and thin pillow, and I gave them $20 for my key deposit, which I would get back if I returned my key safely.
 
I chose a 6 bedroom dorm because, like i said, that is the cheapest. I climbed up the creepy stairs, found the room, and opened the door to find 4 other guys in the room, with 3 bunk beds. Talk about intimidating. I felt like I was the new kid at summer camp or in some dystopian novel where the world is ending and everyone’s in a bunker. I awkwardly climbed up to the top bunk of the only available bed and put my stuff down.
 
It was 10pm and honestly, I was just exhausted, stressed, and scared. I tried to hold back my tears until I got to the bathroom, then I just broke down. I missed home. I missed my family. I was scared and alone, and I felt so helpless, plus I just wasted money on the train that could have been prevented with better planning.
 
I’m just going to skip ahead to the next morning. I forgot to mention this at the beginning, but the night before, when I booked the hostel online, I had to pay a $2.00 deposit online, then I’d pay $14 once I arrived. But when I got to the hostel, they asked me if I’d already paid. I said no. They said it wasn’t showing up or working or something, so they told me to just pay in the morning.
 
I woke up early and went to check out as soon as possible. I put my sheets in the dirty hamper, and went to the front desk. I gave the lady my key, she gave me my $20 back and said “have a good day,”
 
I just looked up at her, smiled and said, “thanks, you too,” then booked it the hell outta there.
 
My angel Eddi came and saved me from the retched place. And the past five days in Sydney have been amazing. But I can’t help but thinking that this is the Universe lending me a helping hand. It knew I was struggling and having a rough time, and since I didn’t have to pay for the hostel in the end, all I really had to pay for was the train, which kind of made up for everything.
 
Moral of the story: never doubt that the Universe is not working in your favour. Now I can say I have experienced a hostel, so next time if that ever occurs again in the future, I’ll be ready and more prepared. And as for my welling; well, I know the Universe is looking out for me. x
 Sydneyy (14)
 
Journal Entry #5
 
Hey there! I’m on a train leaving Gold Coast and heading back to Brisbane right now. I think I do my best thinking on trains and planes, that’s when I always seem to write.
 
I’ve been reflecting about my past month here in Australia and I’ve learned a lot. Not only about this country, it’s culture, and it’s people, but about myself.
 
I have always been such a up tight, perfectionist who had to have every single detail planned. But since coming here, i have learned to live spontaneously. I have learned to live each day as it passes without worrying about what will happen the next. Before I came here, i would not book a train ticket, let alone a plane to another state without knowing where i was going to stay. But i did both of those things, multiple times.
 
I learned that the Universe works in mysterious ways and it is always looking out for me. I knew i would never run into too much trouble because even when I felt panicked and hopeless, it always worked out perfectly and for the best in the end.
 
I had been getting really bad acne for months before i came here. I saw a natural path and she told me it was due to stress. I also always had a soar neck, shoulders and back. Both my chiropractor and massage therapist told me that I was way too tense. These are signs of stress and anxiety.
 
Since being here, my acne has cleared up quite a bit and i totally forgot about it until one day i looked in the mirror and realized it was all almost gone. I don’t even remember the last time i had back or shoulder pains, even though I’ve been sleeping on couches and pull out beds since i got here.
2015-07-03 029I started doing yoga and more meditation. When you travel alone, you sometimes run out of activities to do. You can’t be busy 100% of the time. So i started going to serene, peaceful areas in nature, or even in a house, and just stretching my body and calming my mind- not thinking about anything.
 
I’ve learned so much this trip and it has definitely helped me grow as a person and better myself. I now will not stress and worry about what the future holds, but instead I will wholesomely embrace it with open arms and a clear mind. 
 
 
 
Restaurants Travel

Australia: A Foodies Guide

Hi everyone! I apologize for not posting in a while; I’ve been traveling around Australia. If you follow my Instagram, you may be keeping up with some of my adventures. But Instagram only gives little insight into what I’m doing. So to show you further, I decided to create a Foodies Guide for traveling around Australia. I’ve shamelessly been eating out at many different vegan restaurants and cafes and spending far too much money hahaha. But you’re only young once right, so might as well try out all the good vegan food while you can. Okay, let’s vegan..I mean, begin.

Vege Rama

Location: Brisbane
Address: Shop 30, Post Office Square/270 – 280 Queen Street, Post Office Square, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia

2015-06-13 072This was the first vegan restaurant I visited upon my arrival to Australia. We went out for dinner on the Saturday night that I arrived. I didn’t really have any expectations yet because I hadn’t been anywhere else. This place was decent, I guess. Everything was fairly pricey (but then again, I am coming from Canada where everything is cheaper). I didn’t really know what to get because I was trying to spend as least money as possible. So I went for the Lentil Dhal over Brown Rice with a Side Salad because it was $15, and also the special of the day.

The Dhal was a tad bit spicy, and for some reason just didn’t sit well with my stomach. I tried to mix it in with the rice to hide the taste, and that helped a little bit, but I couldn’t finish it.

The pizza on the other hand was amazing. I had a slice of Mitch’s, and a slice of Katrine’s, and oh my goodness, it was really good! Very thin though, for such an expensive little pizza.

Overall experience: 6/10

2015-06-13 073The Green Edge

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Address: Corner of Lutwyche Rd & Le Geyt st Windsor, Shop 2B Lutwyche Rd, Windsor, Qld, 4030

2015-06-14 031 (2)We went here the next day (Sunday) for lunch. It is the coolest little vegan cafe/supermarket. While we were waiting for our food, we walked around and looked at everything. They had so many vegan ice-creams, cheeses, soups, pastas, healthy bars, pizzas, and other grocery store items. Even vegan cook books and vegan dog food!

I was debating between the nachos and the veggie burger, but decided on the veggie burger because it was $15 (one of the cheapest things) and it had avocado on it, so that was the deal breaker.

The burger was amazing and super filling. The four of us also split a bowl of ‘chips’ (fries) which were super thick and crispy. Yum.

I probably should have taken half home with me, because all day after this I was super full. I also think that the burgers should come with either a side salad or fries since it’s $15, but hey, what can you do.

Overall experience: 8/10

2015-06-14 030 (2) 2015-06-14 029 (2)Pawpaw Cafe

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Address: 898 Stanley St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102, Australia

best day (4)For months over Instagram, I saw foodies all around Australia adding photos of their cocowhip. This stuff looked incredible; vegan, healthy, and creamy? I had to try it. So I google mapped the nearest cafe that sold cocowhip, and that happen to be pawpaw cafe.

Again, everything is very expensive here. The cocowhip sundae was $12 itself, for chocolate sauce and a little slice of vegan cheesecake. We also got some chips to split. ($2 each)

The cocowhip itself wasn’t amazing. It was creamy, but kind of plain in flavour. I think I had a different idea in mind before I tried it; like it would taste like froyo, or soft serve ice cream. But it was kind of plain. I don’t think I could have eaten it if not for the chocolate and cheesecake mixed in.

ALSO, a week after my experience at pawpaw cafe, my friend told me about her own personal experience with the cocowhip. It is advertised as healthy, vegan, and people have said it is only made out of coconut water. ???

She didn’t believe that because she used to work in a coconut ice cream shop. So she asked the people for the ingredients because of “allergies for her kids”, and they refused to give her the ingredients. Finally after getting the attention of the manager, he told her that it contained a bunch of things that were very unexpected; one of them being hydrogenated oil. WTF. She was so appalled that there was so many additives and other things in it that she would never put that into her children’s bodies. So I’m sharing it here with you: beware of the cocowhip.

Overall experience: 7/10

best day (10) best day (5)Naked Treaties

Location: Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Address: 2/3 Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia

2015-06-18 085Ah, Naked Treaties: The infamous raw vegan cafe that I’ve heard oh so much about through Instagram. I swear every foodie that I follow that lives in Australia has been there. And people are always raaaving about it, and saying how it’s the best place ever, and that a trip to Byron is not complete without Naked Treaties.

Well, with all that fuss, I thought I better check it out. I was staying at my friend Jasmine’s place (https://instagram.com/blisijas/), so we went there with Samara from Fithealthyproject who was also staying in Byron for the week.

Okay so, first off, the portion sizes are TINY. teeny, weeny, tiny. Secondly, it is ridiculously expensive. and thirdly, it wasn’t that amazing. Like, I got a $15 crepe that was very petite and had some bananas and coconut yogurt. Jasmine got nachos, and as you can see by the photo, she got 4 chips…..

Oh, also the place itself was nothing what I expected. It is very small, you just go in and order/pay, then go sit outside where there’s like 3 tables, and your food is brought to you. And the bathroom is in a garage around the corner.

Ahahah, so no offense or anything to Naked Treaties or anything, but you are not what I expected, and I could not afford to go there again, nor would I want to. Jasmine told me her favourite place in town was a vegan cafe just down the street where it’s around the same price, but you actually get what you’re paying for.

So if you’re on a budget, or just simply want a big meal, I wouldn’t really recommend Naked Treaties. At least the food looked pretty though.

Overall experience: 7/10

2015-06-18 084 2015-06-17 024Mandala Organic Arts

Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Address: 2558 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218, Australia

2015-06-18 130I have only heard great things about Mandala’s. A few different people I met in Australia so far had been telling me how amazing Mandala’s in. So when I arrived in Burleigh, Gold Coast, my beautiful friend Steph took me there for dinner with her two vegan babes. (ages 4+5)

Now this place I can actually say, was AMAZING. It’s a bit pricey, but I came to realize that I’m never going to get a meal in Australia for under $10, so I’m accepting it. I got a small pizza, which was $16, and so worth it. I got the mushroom pizza that is drizzled in veggies and cashew sour cream, and it was TO DIE FOR. So amazing, and not too thin, not super thick. I was so sad when it was finished. Steph also got a side of garlic bread pizza which was ALSO amazing. ugghhh i freaking love this place

Overall experience: 9/10

2015-06-18 126 2015-06-18 127 Greenhouse Factory

Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Address: 1/74 Musgrave St, Coolangatta QLD 4225, Australia

IMG_5518 Ah, Greenhouse Factory. I’ve seen a few people post about this on Instagram, but I was never too curious. Until Samara went there and said it was the best meal she’s ever had in her life.

Ha. I was like, “you better mean that, that’s a big statement to make”

So Steph took me there on Friday for lunch and oh. my. goodness…. it definitely lived up to my expectations. We sat near the back where the kitchen is, so literally every time that someone’s food was ready and put out, I had to see it. And it made me want to cry because I couldn’t eat all of that perfect heaven. I am not kidding, everything looked so amazing I almost changed my order twice.

But Steph and I both ended up getting the burger, which comes with a salad and chickpea fries. Now that’s something worth payin money for. The meal was $23, but it was HUGE, and came with so much goodness that it was 100% worth the money. I couldn’t even finish it because I was so full, so I brought half the burger home and some chickpea fries; which I’ve never tried before, but may I just add are INCREDIBLE.

I just can’t get over how good this place was. Not to mention the atmosphere is adorable and welcoming, with lovely seating on the inside, or a seat on the patio outside that has a view of the ocean. Just amazing.

Overall experience:….. drum roll please…. 10/10.

IMG_5495 2015-06-19 074 (2) 2015-06-19 069 (2)Burleigh Farmers Markets

Location: Burleigh, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Address: Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220, Australia

2015-06-20 048One last place to add onto this post. The Burleigh Farmers Markets are held at a primary school just by Burleigh Beach. I always see LoniJane post about it, so I had to go check it out.

It was really neat. They had a ton of cool stuff ranging from food to clothes. Not all vegan, some meat and stuff, but that’s okay, I plugged my nose when walking by.

You get a range between super expensive and super cheap. I looked around for a bit to find a watermelon, and one place had a quarter for $4, but another place had a half for $3. BINGO. I got that one. I also had two passion fruits in my bag that I bought from a Byron Farmers Market, which I had never tried before until this day!! (Thank you to Samara for buying them for me hehehe)

I also tried sugarcane juice for the first time and OMG IT IS AMAZING. It is so sweet and delicious and healthy. I actually ended up deciding on the Sugar Cane Pina Colada, which just had coconut milk and pineapple juice added to it. Ah-mazing.

—–

Well that pretty much sums up my eats SO FAR. Guys, I’ve only been here a week… how sad is that. I’ve spent FAR too much money on food, so now that I’m up in the Sunshine Coast (Bli Bli), and far away from any vegan restaurants, I will be detoxing and saving money hahaha. I went to the grocery store today and bought $50 worth of just fruits and veg, so it will be nice to give my body a bit of a break from eating out so much. I also went on a 15k bike ride today (omg??) and was just exhausted after so I’ve been resting all day.

I’m here for 3 more weeks, so I’ll keep you all updated. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a fabulous day.

Cheers, Katrina

2015-06-20 016

Updated…

Sadhana Kitchen

Location: Sydney, Australia
Address: 147 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042

syddsad (2)The reason I wanted to go to Sadhana Kitchen was because that’s all I ever hear about on Instagram. SOO many people that live in Sydney, or visit Sydney, and are vegan, always go to Sadhana Kitchen. I had heard such amazing things about this place, that I knew I couldn’t visit Sydney without going there.

My friends that I was staying with told me that it was super expensive, but I was like, whatever, it’s worth it cause I’ll probably never go again.

Well, it was yummy and all, but I was right about one thing: I probably wouldn’t go back.

First of all, the shop is VERY tiny, nothing like one would imagine. (Just like Naked Treaties) Everything was so freaking expensive, so I literally got the cheapest thing on the menu, which was a $14 Trio Salad. Eddi got a Pitaya Bowl which looked (and tasted) delicious, and Phoebe got a salad stirfry of some sort.

I’ve concluded that the food looks prettier than it tastes. They decorate it and made it look so beautiful that you don’t even want to eat it. And then you do .. and it’s pretty good, but nothing like, outstanding or anything. I mean, for the price you think it was made out of gold or something.

So yeah, that’s pretty much my opinion on Sadhana. Just another over-hyped vegan cafe that everybody on Instagram raves about that are probably rich or are getting paid to say so. xo

Overall Rating: 7/10

syddsad (3)Gelato Blue

Location: Sydney, Australia
Address: 318 Kings St, Newtown NSW 2042

syddsad (1)Okay, now this place is worth raving about. I also had seen quite a few people on Instagram going here, and the photos are literal food porn, so I knew I had to come here as well. I went twice actually …. once after Sadhana Kitchen, and once after Lentils as Anything(review below). It’s not 100% vegan, but there are tons of vegan options. So basically I got this donut sundae thing that is a vegan donut, topped with your choice of gelato, and a cone drizzled with chocolate sauce crushed nuts. SO FREAKING DELICIOUS OMG. And usually when I finish a meal then dessert, I feel so stuffed. But even after this, I felt content – it never made me feel bloated or sick or anything. I freaking love vegan desserts.

The prices were pretty high, but for this sundae it was $9.50, which is pretty decent since a donut is like $4.50 each, and 1 scoop of gelato is like $4.00.

This place was freaking amazing, the staff was super nice and friendly, and I would HIGHLY recomend going there if you live in Sydney or are visiting Sydney.

Overall Rating: 10/10

Sydneyy (18)Lentils as Anything

Location: Sydney Australia
Address: 391 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042

Sydneyy (26)This place was ALSO amazing, and it’s so unique and different from any other vegan restaurant I visited.

So basically this place was created to help homeless people/people on a budget, so it’s ALL run by volunteers, and 100% by donations. So yes, that means there are no prices, you just get your meal, and pay based on however much you want to donate.

The place is super cute, funky, and upbeat with loud music playing and a kind staff. A few of us vegan friends from Instagram went there for dinner and it was so cool to meet new people and talk about like-minded things.

I saw them carrying out this plate (pictured above) to different tables, and I instantly knew what I wanted to order. It was chili with rice and chips. And the service was SO FAST!! I think because they make heaps of stuff in bulk so that when people order, it’s basically ready.

And to top it off, the food was DELICIOUS!! We literally inhaled our meals in 5 minutes.

This place was just amazing, cool, different, cheap, and just awesome. I also highly recommend visiting here if you’re in Sydney.

Overall Rating: 10/10

IMG_6577BlendLove

Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Address: 1/253 Ferry Rd, Southport QLD 4215

2015-07-02 021I went to BlendLove on my last day in the Gold Coast. I had seen photos of their dessers briefly on Instagram, and they looked amazinngggly delicious.

My friend Steph that took me said that there is two amazing cakes, (peanut butter + cookie dough I think?) and that all the rest didn’t taste as good. She said they look prettier than they taste actually.

When we got there, I was so pleased to see such a cute little shop. The appeal and atmosphere is very fun and health friendly.

The prices are a bit high ($7 for a lil cake, and $3 for a bliss ball.. wowzer), but I got one anyways because, yolo right?

Steph got the Rawreo (raw oreo) and I got the Chocolate Raspberry. And may I just say that they are 100% as good as they look. Perhaps she was just so used to the other ones that all the rest couldn’t compare. But omg, mine was so delicious. They give you little tiny forks so that they last, and I did exactly that. I took tiny little bites to make my piece last, and I was so sad when it was over.

Steph also ordered sweet potato fries after and oh my goodness, they were probably the best tasting sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. SO GOOD.

So yeah, this place was very cute, very delicious, but very expensive. Deffs worth it though, but I’d probably only go there like once every few months hahahaha.

Overall Rating: 8/10

2015-07-02 023 2015-07-02 009Okay and now I’m officially back in Canada, so sadly this is the end of this post :'( No more yummy Aussie vegan eats </3

Hope this helped,
Katrina xx

 

Personal Travel

Travel Diaries: Hawaii 2014

Hi everyone! This post is just going to be a quick summary of my trip to Hawaii. what activities I did, how I dislocated my arm, my 19th birthday, and what foods I ate while on the beautiful island! ps. bare with me, I’m typing this with one hand.

IMG_5716bFirst I wanted to start off by talking about my new vegan friend I met on my trip: Nicole. The both of us were renting little houses/cottages on the same small property. One day when I was on her back patio getting wifi, she came out carrying half of a watermelon for dinner, and we began chatting. It turns out that Nicole is a High Carb Vegan for health purposes because she has a very sensitive digestive system. Therefore she mostly only eats fruits and veggies.

It was so nice getting to talk to Nicole and be able to share common thoughts and mindsets about a lot of things.

IMG_6607 IMG_6667I bought lots of fresh fruit and veggies in Hawaii, which were amazing. Whenever we went on day trips I always packed a cooler full of fruit, lara bars, and water to keep me energized through out the day.

When it came to meals at the house, I usually had green smoothies, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and salads.

2014-07-08 006 2014-07-08 005 2014-07-06 002 2014-07-06 005 2014-07-09 001 2014-07-09 001 IMG_5423IMG_5910I also treated myself because I’m on vacation and why not. The local Safeway had so many SoDelicious (dairy free coconut ice-cream) options! There were also many Gelato shops around that had great dairy free options as well!

IMG_4939IMG_6216We went on hikes and explored the Island a lot.

IMG_6013 IMG_6005 IMG_5846 IMG_6355 IMG_6448

IMG_6589bbbAnd then last Sunday…. I dislocated my arm.

So basically, we were at Big Beach in Makena, and the waves get really big and dangerous there. People have broken their backs&necks, and some have died. I got hit by a really big wave which forcefully threw me under water and into the sand. My arm was dislocated and I have never broken a bone or anything before so it was really nasty and scary. I then waited 4 hours in the ER waiting room, then they put me to sleep and snapped it back into place. It was quite the eventful day.

2014-07-13 003 2014-07-13 0062014-07-13 001 2014-07-13 005But having a dislocated arm did not stop me from going out. On Monday I had plans to meet up with Ellen Fisher from Mango Island Mamma, along with her adorable son Elvis. You can check out Ellen on Instagram here.

IMG_6604 IMG_6615 IMG_6620Ellen is such a kind and sweet person. She brought us Jackfruit to try and it was delicious. We played basketball with Elvis, and asked Ellen a few questions like why she decided to name him Elvis, and why they decided to move to Maui.

After our little visit, Ellen kindly offered to drive us to Mana Foods which was just up the street. It’s supposed to be the best organic food store on the island.

Nicole and I were in vegan HEAVEN! They had so much awesome and cheap vegan foods. I just kept wandering up and down the aisles in awe.

2014-07-14 001 2014-07-14 001We ended up getting: a salad, veggie sushi, rice paper rolls, lara bars,  a vegan chocolate chip cookie, fresh apple juice, strawberries, dried mulberries, figs, and a few other dried fruits.2014-07-14 006 2014-07-14 003 2014-07-14 001 2014-07-14 002The next day I carried on with my day the best that I could. I have to do everything with one hand, which is really annoying, and harder than you think.

2014-07-15 004 2014-07-15 004Nicole and I went to the beach for a bit in the morning, then went to this little vegan cafe called ‘Joy’s Place’ for lunch. I tried a vegan burrito wrapped in a collard leaf.

After that, we walked around, went to shops, and even tried fresh coconut water!

2014-07-15 002 2014-07-15 002 IMG_6669 IMG_6675On Wednesday it was my birthday and I turned 19. I didn’t want to do anything big; just get sushi and watch the sunset. Well, life happens and I didn’t end up getting sushi and I also got really badly burnt (which later resulted in heat stroke).

So my friends bought me a little watermelon and we still were able to watch the sunset.

2014-07-17 014 2014-07-17 024Later that night, I ended up getting really bad heatstroke. I was so cold and had the chills, then I was hot and sweating and feeling like I was going to throw up and pass out. It was an awful feeling.

The next day (Thursday) I couldn’t stand up or eat all day, which was really tough cause my flight was at 8pm that night.

Fast forward to today, Monday July 21st. I am JUST starting to get better now. I’ve barely ate anything since Wednesday because every time I think of food, I feel nauseous. I went to the doctors yesterday and they couldn’t find anything wrong! They told me I have to eat though, so last night I forced myself to have crackers and apple sauce.

This morning I woke up feeling better than I have in the past 4 days, but still not back to my normal self. I made a chocolate date smoothie for breakfast (ya know, to help gain some weight back) but I couldn’t finish it. I’m trying really hard to get better because my mother got us Katy Perry tickets months ago for my birthday, and the concert is tonight. I’m praying I’ll be feeling better for it.

 

Well, that pretty much sums up my trip to Hawaii. Have a great Monday everyone!

IMG_6174
 

Advice Travel Vegan

Traveling as a Vegan

Aloha everyone, and greetings from Hawaii. I’m currently inside having a break day from the sun because I am super burnt and soar. So I thought I’d take this time to write up a little blog post about my travels so far as a vegan, how I’ve managed to stay healthy, and what foods I’ve been buying 🙂

Packing

Before you embark on this journey of yours, make sure you buy food ahead of time and pack things that you are allowed to bring into the country. If you don’t know what you’re allowed to bring or not, it’s really quite easy: call ahead. Call your airport, or airline, or look it up on the internet. Find out what you’re allowed to bring, and BRING IT!

It’s good to bring things like peanut butter, quinoa, oats, nutrition bars, protein powders, and fruit that you can! I brought tons of fruit for the plane, and Lara Bars and Vega Bars, which came in handy when I was starving (they didn’t feed us a meal on the 9 hour flight from Chicago to Maui)

In the Airport

As soon as I landed for my layover in Chicago, I looked around for places to get food. I’m sure all airports have at least 1 or 2 options for you. I’m not suggesting that airports will have little vegan restaurants or cafe’s, but I mean you CAN get things to eat at places. Examples: fruit, vegetables, smoothies, oatmeal, etc. I found a Jamba Juice and got oatmeal with banana, and a dairy-free smoothie. Easy.

Shopping

If you’re staying at an all inclusive, then simply skip over this section. It will be easy for you to get vegan options at an all inclusive because you can just get tons of fruits and veggies. If you are staying on your own, like I am, you’re going to need to do some shopping.

Load up on fruit, veggies, grains, nuts, and whatever else you eat! I even got some vegan treats like ice-cream and Snap Peas

VEGAN ICE CREAM

Making Food

Again, easy. If you’re me, you can live off of smoothies, banana ice-cream, salads, and oatmeal. Yay for plant based livin.

Day Trips + Meal Prep

Again, easy. Bring a little fold up cooler, and pack a ton of fruit and maybe throw in a Lara Bar. You can take this with you on your day trips, and bring as much as you want. Don’t forget to throw in some ice packs to keep it cool. Also bring some cash with you cause you never know what could be around.

We went to the beach in Kihei and there is a store right across the street from the beach called Hawaiian Moons which had a bunch of all natural and organic foods. They also had a salad bar where I literally added every single topping that they had to my salad. It was a BIT expensive (cause I added so much) but sooo worth it.

Also, the other night we passed by Ono Gelato, and they had a big dairy free vegan section so I was able to get some delicious Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Gelato. mmmmmm

I hope this helps with your traveling, and if you have ANY questions what so ever, don’t hesitate to ask by commenting or emailing me at info@mindfullybliss.com

Happy Traveling!

Advice Travel

Travel Tips

I’m leaving for my trip to Hawaii in four days, so for this weeks Tip Tuesday, I decided to write about some tips for traveling and eating healthy. (major tips for anyone who’s a vegan because I prepared like crazy)

ps. do you think that there is a difference between trip and vacation? I think vacation is more of a getaway and a time to relax, where a trip is when you seek experience and adventure through traveling.

Travel Tips


1. Try to pack light

I know it can be tough because you literally want to bring everything, but try to bring as least stuff as possible. If you’re going somewhere hot, you don’t have to worry about heavy clothes and baggy sweaters to take up room in your suitcase. That’s all you really need right? And a toothbrush.

2. Preparation

Have all of your stuff ready and laid out at least a week prior to leaving. I get organized way before I leave and plan out what I’m going to be doing, where I am staying, who I am seeing, etc. I have everything typed up and printed out, have my passport and all other important info ready, so when the time comes to leave for the airport, I am ready.

3. Health

Depending on where you are staying, bring things that will help you stay healthy. If you’re staying on a resort, great, just stay away from the fatty/greasy foods, and enjoy your time. But if you’re staying in a cottage/backpacking/staying with people, bring things you know will help you stay on track. I am staying in someone’s cottage for 2 weeks, so I am bringing my blender (yep, lol), some non perishable items that can go across the border (peanut butter, dates, oats, lara bars, etc.) Whatever you need to help you stay on track, bring it. And if you don’t have room, bring less of your other stuff.

4. PLAN EVERYTHING

Look things up ahead of time. Map out your routes and destinations. I took the time a month ago to Google Map all the local grocery stores, any vegan shops in the area, where I need to go if I need a bank, emergencies, cab fair, bus fair, bike rentals (since I can’t rent a car) etc. Think about all the stuff you’re going to be doing. Some people just think ‘vacation’ and therefore anything important slips their mind. But seriously, think about how you’re going to survive. What will you eat? How will you get around? How will you get money and pay for things? Do you know anyone there or need any contacts? THINK ABOUT THIS STUFF AND PLAN AHEAD! Trust me, it will save you from panicking once you get there.

5. Plane stuff & Carry on

Call your airport or look stuff up online. See what you can bring on the plane with you and also which stuff you can bring into the country. I spoke to someone on the phone at Air Canada and they told me everything I can and cannot bring in my carry on.

Can’t:
water bottles (obviously) (it could be a bomb)
berries
sharp objects

CAN:
lara bars
nuts
apples, bananas, mangos, grapes
drinks I buy in the airport (AFTER security)

I also asked which foods I can bring into Hawaii and they said yes to peanut butter, dates, and lara bars, but weren’t quite sure about grains (quinoa and oats)

Plane Ride

Also be prepared for your flight. If you have a long flight (mine is 10 hours) bring these to keep you occupied. Books, laptop, I-pad with movies on it, i-phone, ipod, etc. If you want to sleep during your flight, bring some gravol to make you sleepy. Maybe bring a pillow so that you’re comfortable. And don’t forget headphones.

And if you’re a vegan like me, don’t be afraid to tell the flight attendants or anyone else that needs to know. If you’re being served a meal on the plane, simply tell them you can’t have meat/dairy/eggs and would just prefer fruits and vegetables. This is so easy for them to prepare because you know for sure that they will have fruits and veggies.

I hope these little tips help you for your future endeavors. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment them below. Happy travels!