Author: Joi Darling

Travel Hacks For Vegans Who Love Food

Hi, I’m Joi and I’m a vegan that is often speeding down the runway… unless I’m in homebody mode (which is often). That’s me. A girl of extremes. Jet-setting or relishing Hermitsville. I’m sort of wallowing in Hermitsville as we speak (I haven’t traveled in a month!), trying to be healthy because I’ll soon be eating my way through NYC and San Francisco, but getting back to the point of this post, traveling vegans need to do a fair amount of thinking ahead if you absolutely love food and want to do it right (spoiler alert: I don’t always do it right). By “doing it right,” I mean not only stave off hunger, but indulge in mind-blowing options that you’re not going to get at home. Without further ado, my best tips for travel, along with some food porn from recent travels, because what’s a food-focused post without food porn?! First rule of Vegan Traveling: Be Prepared! I like to pretend that I’m always the savvy vegan traveler. The girl with a snazzy picnic basket full of …

Trying To Embrace Summer

. . .in August in Mississippi there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a soft, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and—from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. – William Faulkner, Light in August Yes. By August, people in the South are so out of their minds due to oppressive heat and humidity, that they hallucinate fall. I jest. Here we are with all of the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend vibes in the US and while most people are welcoming summer, I’m half dreading it this year. I’m likely not the only Yankee that is already wishing for fall by the time the hot hot heat sets in (that is, right about now, oh no, that was right about three weeks ago). With each year that I live here, I love the summers less and …

Vegan (& Engaged) At Disneyworld?!

Confession: I’m a bit of a Disneyworld nerd. Like many American kids, I grew up going there with my family almost every summer and the nostalgia is strong. But now I have even more reason for all the feels to be stronger. On my recent trip with my family to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, Danny asked me to marry him. Literally everyone I know was like, “the best part about you getting engaged is that it happened at Disneyworld,” and by best they mean, no doubt, weirdest because I guess I don’t fit the “type” you’d expect this to happen to. I mean, I’m not exactly all about that “waiting for my Prince Charming” BS. This is fucking-A true. I’m not even the “engaged,” type. But come on, this is the “happiest place on earth,” isn’t it? I like being happy! I spent too many years being unhappy. Possibly even a decade of intermittent unhappiness. But that’s a story for another time. I won’t deny that there’s this sort of creative/magical feeling inherent …

Carnival 2018, My Favorite Yet!

Lent is over and I’m just now sitting down to gather my thoughts about this past Carnival season. I feel like it was the best one yet in my 7 years celebrating. It wasn’t the special or unique costume that I typically spend so much time planning, but this year threw together kind of last minute. It wasn’t the chillingly delicious vegan King Cakes that I tasted, either (two new varieties this year!) I blinged out a new wig but wore an old costume It wasn’t all of the parades I went to, though those were as great as they always are, even if I only made it through one entirely because my cranky self got a little fed up with the people around me displaying poor parade etiquette. And yes. Parade etiquette is a thing. If you visit NOLA for Carnival, read up on it. It wasn’t the huge haul of sparkly throws that I received. With each year, I feel that I’m happiest with just a few specialty throws as keepsakes. It might have …

Food Can Be The Best Therapy

I’m going to come clean and admit that this has been a terrible month for me. Anything good that happened is negligible, a blurry photograph at a happy occasion that’s bound to happen again anyway. All good things were cancelled out by the death of my beloved 17 year old cat, Chick, 2 weeks ago on March 12. This was the last photo taken of him, on a Sunday night, while I was watching Homeland, and I was blissfully unaware that Lymphoma was speedily destroying him. Six days after this photo was taken, I took him to the vet because he hadn’t been himself all week, hiding, barely eating and having difficulty breathing. It was a Saturday. I dropped him off for X-rays and the vet called me later with the grim diagnosis. Of course I was prepared to hand over whatever money it took to heal him. I’ve maxed out my credit cards before to bring him back to health. Only… only I was told there was nothing that could be done except to …

Homebody Time

This blog typically focuses on my travels and while it may seem that I am constantly eating out, know that when I’m not traveling, I tend to cook most nights at home. Oh and I become the biggest homebody, like, ever. I may not leave my house other than to go to the gym and come home. Because I live in a rural area, about a half hour from civilization, I need to plan my meals well and hit up Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Costco to stock up for the week. This is a vast departure from my past life of  eating out almost nightly, especially when I lived in New York and didn’t have time to cook more than once or twice a week. The truth is, there’s not a lot that gets me excited to eat out here in New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong. I have my favorite places, but I can count them on one hand. There is one (1) total vegan restaurant in New Orleans and I don’t like …

Vegan Vacay: Costa Rican Yoga Retreat

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? On one hand, I’m mad at myself for not attempting an early January resolution post. But it’s not like I even had a breather at that point to pen a list of annual desires. My trip to Costa Rica last month was the perfect post-holidays reset that I needed. For Christmas and New Years, I was in New York visiting family. Then I came back to New Orleans for 10 days and then off to San Jose, with a four hour ride to Uvita, Costa Rica for 7 Days in Paradise… a yoga retreat headed up by my longtime friend and yogini extraordinaire, Melody. A vegan yoga retreat has been on my bucket list for years for so many reasons, but the timing never really worked out right for the ones that I really wanted to attend. How it all came about: last May I was in the midst of a huge vacation-planning promotion at work. The weeks leading up to it were kind of stressful, but in a …