Thursday, October 11, 2018

Evans Boots for Stomping and Romping: A Vegan Shoe Review!

feeling fancy and all ready to teach a yoga retreat! 

SWOON. Aren't these just the cutest boots ever??? I am so in love with my new Evans Boots from JBU (a sub-brand of Jambu Footwear). They are kinda my dream shoe and I can't stop wearing them, and I'm so glad the weather is cooling down so that I won't have to stop wearing them for a long time. I took them up to Northern California with me last week when I was leading a yoga retreat in Graeagle, CA - and they were just the PERFECT shoes for that trip! 

First of all, they are absolutely crazy comfortable. They look and feel equally great with my yoga tights as with my regular pants or jeans. They are super easy to zip-on and zip-off. The soles are really high quality and feel supportive and durable. They kept my feet really warm and toasty without overheating.

Jambu makes lots of great vegan shoes for women, in a ton of different styles - from boots to sandals, and from casual to more dressy. They aren't all vegan though, so make sure you are looking at the vegan shoes part of their site before falling in love with a non-vegan shoe! 


STOMPIN' up a storm!

These shoes just make me so happy! They make me do crazy little dances and stomp my feet around like I am King Kong or like I am going to destroy my foes and emerge victoriously with my sword held high. I mean, really they just make me feel like a total badass and I love them! These are great attitude shoes when I mean business or want to feel extra confident. Obviously I am also a complete goofball who pulled over on the side of the road and took videos of herself stomping her feet around and pretending to be a monster. 

The first time I tried these on, I was at a yoga course out of town, and I ended up going for an hour long walk up in the hills with them on: climbing hills, climbing and descending long staircases, traipsing through woodland trails... and even with brand new shoes my feet were happy as can be! At first the Evans boot felt a little on the narrow side for my feet, but as I have continued to wear them, that has entirely gone away and they feel perfect on my feet. I wear a size 9, and these fit me very true to size. 


 These pictures show the stylish detailing on the Evans Boots - I especially like the little buckle and the gentle crinkle of the faux leather. And check out the soles - they're really serious and have great grip. These boots are also "water resistant" (not water proof, but sturdier than some!). They come in black and brown and I found it hard to choose between the two because they're both really pretty. I'm glad I went with black in the end though because I have more black in my wardrobe.

The top left picture shows the Evans boot from the outer ankle view, and the top right picture shows the inner ankle view where the zipper is. The zipper goes pretty much all the way to the sole of the shoe, so it's really effortless to get my feet in and out.


Here you can see how fuzzy they are on the inside!!!

Around the front of the ankle, these shoes have a sort of faux shearling lining, and then the rest of the inside liner is super soft velvety fleecey fabric. Whatever it is, it's pure comfort magic. The insoles are made with memory foam and it's just an extremely pleasant experience to wear these shoes! I almost always wear them with socks, but a few times I've worn them out for errands without socks and they are still cozy and comfy even without socks.


Before heading home after my yoga retreat was over, I wore my Evans boots on a day hike with my friend and her beautiful dog. It wasn't a crazy demanding hike, but my boots did a great job walking along the trail, scrambling over some rocks to see salmon swimming upstream in the river, and keeping my feet comfy and secure the whole time. They got all dusty on the trail and easily cleaned up again when I got home! 

The whole hike was super autumnal - with aspen trees turning bright yellow, a little chill in the air, and especially those amazing salmon. It had probably been at least 20 years since I had seen salmon swimming upstream to spawn. It's so amazing to watch. 


me on my hike, with my perfect pinecone

I also found a perfect pinecone on my hike and brought it home with me. See how beautiful it was there?? I was basically oohing and aahing the whole time and I took so many pictures. My friend Emily took this picture of me balancing on a little foot bridge... feeling comfy and confident with my awesome Evans boots on! 

In addition to day hiking and long city walks, I've been wearing these boots to go teach yoga, do errands, go to the farmers market, walk the dogs... you name it! They haven't failed me yet and I love them more and more everyday! 



*** COUPON CODE for YOU! ***
I am a brand ambassador for Jambu Footwear and I was sent these shoes to review... but happily, I also have a coupon code so that you can save 20% off any shoe purchase at Jambu.com 
VEGANEATS18
The coupon code is good until December 31st, 2018

Let me know if you get any shoes for yourself! This season I have also reviewed the stylish Parker Boots and the Spirit Vegan Slip-ons in case you want to check out those reviews as well. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Super Chic Vegan Parker Boots! by JBU // Shoe Review!


These shoes make me feel happy! and sassy! 


Omg! Aren't these just the most stylish little bootie boots ever? I love them! These are the vegan Parker boots by JBU (a sub-brand of Jambu). I am stoked to be a brand ambassador for Jambu's line of vegan shoes for women, and I just love how many different vegan shoes styles they are offering. This season, I tried to select a wide range of styles to review. These Parker boots are especially super fun for me, since they are so stylish and cute! I feel like I spend the vast majority of my life in my yoga clothes and then sometimes I want to dress up and feel fancy. In the last few years I've made an effort to get some nicer clothes for those times when I want to feel and look more snazzy.





These Parkers are just perfect for snazzy days! They come in four super classy colors: black, wine, taupe and brown - I had a hard time choosing, I kinda wanted them all! I went with brown though because it seems pretty versatile, but still on the dressy side.




The material on these boots is a nice vegan suede, with a smooth interior. The insoles are memory foam, which means they are cozy and comfortable. The soles have this cute little raised boot heel that makes them look fashionable, but the bottoms of the shoes have a nice sporty traction sole. That'll make them nice when it starts to rain and the ground gets slippery and wet! It also makes them look like dress shoes, but feel like sporty knock-around shoes, which as far as I am concerned, is absolutely awesome. I love not having to trade style for aching feet!


Oh hai. Check out my cute shoes. 


I wear a size 9 shoe, and the Parker boots fit true to size for me. Mine fit great barefoot (or with those tiny little not-sock things), and also with a thin pair of socks. They're nicely snug around the foot (not tight), but even with the notch at the ankle, they feel like they stay on well. If you're on the fence (size-wise), or if you like to wear big thick socks, I might advise you to size up a half size. As you can see, they're stylishly narrow. I don't find them uncomfortably narrow, but if you have really wide feet, it will be a consideration.

Now I just have to come up with more ideas for date nights, get invited to more parties, and find more reasons to switch from yoga pants to skinny jeans, and wear my Parkers as often as possible! I love them!!!

so comfy you can even climb up the brick wall and look good doing it! 



** COUPON CODE for 20% OFF!  **
Use the coupon code VEGANEATS18 for 20% off any purchase at Jambu.com (offer good through 12/31/2018!). Remember that not all the shoes Jambu makes are vegan, so make sure you are looking around in the vegan shoes section of their site. Let me know if you get any, so we can be Jambu twinsies!

I have already reviewed the Jambu Spirit Vegan Slip-ons this season, and I'll have two more reviews coming soon... stay posted!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Ode to Summer Bounty

I know that today is technically the first day of Autumn, but I want to give a final wistful appreciation for some of the glorious bounty I grew, received as a gift, and found at the market this summer. Over the years, I've come to genuinely appreciate all seasons... but there's just no time like summer. Especially when it come to produce! 


Here are some special goodies I got my grubby little paws on this summer: 

FIGS
My auntie grows the most AMAZING figs in her garden. Figs are one of my very favorite foods of all time ever, and these figs are extra special for two reasons 1) they come from the garden of someone I love a whole lot, and 2) they are huge and perfect and beautiful and delicious! They are emerald green on the outside, and then they are an amazing brilliant red color on the inside. I loved these figgies and I wish I was eating them again right now! 


BLENHEIM APRICOTS
One of my beloved yoga students gifted me a box of Blenheim apricots, which she had just picked that very morning. Dear reader. These were so delicious and this was such a special gift. Have you ever had a Blenheim apricot? Especially a perfectly ripe one, fresh off the tree? Seriously, it is one of the best things that you can ever eat.

When I was growing up, we had an old apricot tree in our backyard, and every other summer it would produce an incredible bounty of apricots - which we would eat with abandon, make jam with, and generally enjoy heartily. That tree was very old, and it died a long time ago. A truly fresh apricot is quite elusive... and this box of orange beauties took me straight back in time to those summers eating apricots in the driveway. So sweet. 


SMOOSHY NECTARINES

I go to the farmers market with religious devotion, two times a week, all year round. Naturally, I have a few farmers who are my favorites. At the Wednesday market, there's a farm that sells fruit all year long (citrus in the winter, stone fruits in the summer, and a handful of other goodies). They are SUCH nice guys. Earlier this summer, I was buying some peaches from them, and they were like "Oh hey, would you like some super-soft nectarines that are too soft for us to sell?" and I was like "YES." They *gave* me these two huge bags full of super smooshy peaches and nectarines!!!


I put some of the nectarines to use straight away with some nectarine jam! I used this recipe from the interwebz... and then I added a little dash of fresh grated ginger at the end. This was my first time doing anything special with jam - like adding ginger. I'm generally a bit of a purist on this front, but not this time! The spirit voices told me to add ginger and so I did - and I love how it turned out! The ginger comes on just at the end, and not in a heavy handed way. Just a little hint of heat. I really like it.


I used the rest of my nectarines to make a couple batches of the "Apple Pear Baked Oatmeal" from the Oh She Glows Cookbook (I'm not sure if that's exactly what the recipe is called, but you could figure it out). I just used my nectarines and peaches instead of the apples and pears. I LOVE this recipe so much. It has a little bit of maple syrup and coconut sugar in it, but most of the sweetness comes from the fruit itself. I made one batch straight away, and then froze the rest of fruit - and used it to make a second batch several weeks later. SUCH a treat!


Workshop treats!
Mid-summer, I taught an all-afternoon yoga workshop, and I always like to bring special treats for my attendees. I like to use seasonal flavors, local ingredients when possible, and I like to have one chocolatey treat (for the people who need chocolate!), and one without chocolate. I also try to make treats that aren't over the top decadent, since people at a yoga workshop won't want anything too heavy.

So, I made a giant batch of chocolate covered strawberries! I used berries from my friends' farm, and I put ice packs under the glass tray in the back room until I was ready to serve them. It totally worked and they didn't melt at all! woot! I also tossed in a bunch of huge blackberries because I think blackberries are magical, beautiful, and delicious. 



I had a lot of people at that workshop, so I knew I would need a lot of treats to keep everyone happy! I also like to make sure that treats I bring are gluten-free... that way no one is left out! So I made a batch of the amaretto cookies from Great Gluten-Free Eats. I really love that recipe. Those are the little round cookies going around the edge of the platter. The oaty ones are Peach Bars! They are so good! I used the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars from Smitten Kitchen (a recipe my pal Kittee told me about!). I just used a bunch of peaches instead of rhubarb and strawberries! I also used 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 Miyokos's butter instead of butter, Bob's 1:1 gluten-free flour instead of regular flour, and coconut sugar for the sugar in the recipe. These are so good! 


Garlic Crop! 

Last Spring my auntie and I took a special class on how to grow garlic up at the University gardening program. It was really fun and we got to ask all sorts of questions. I've been growing garlic for many years, but it's always a kind of mystery - why some years it does great and some years it doesn't. So I was excited to take all my fancy new techniques and knowledge and put it to use on this year's crop. I used special soil amendments, I watered more than I usually do, I carefully planted the cloves in super particular fashion... 

... and it was my most pathetic crop ever! What a bummer! I got lots of heads of garlic, of course, but they are all so tiny and sad. My garlic is sentimental because I use garlic that was handed down to me from my mom's father, who got some cloves from my dad's father! So I am pretty attached to this garlic. But maybe it's time to give up... 


... Because my aunt bought garlic "seed cloves" at the class we took and HER garlics turned out HUGE and AMAZING. She was (as always!) super generous and shared two of her beautiful heads of garlic with me. I think maybe next year I will try growing half of my own ancestral garlic and half of some new-fangled garlics! Because I want some giant garlic heads of my own! 


Can you believe that I am such a bad gardener that I didn't even get very many zucchini this year? One of my students is a super gardener and has gave me several beautiful zucchini this year. It seems like most people just can't get rid of zucchini fast enough! On the other hand, I was extremely proud of my meager little zucchinis. Ha ha. I probably got about 15 zucchinis in all, off of two plants. So pathetic. I think I also need to replace the soil in my raised beds, maybe next year! 


TOMATOES
On the other hand, I did pretty well with my tomatoes! It wasn't my best tomato year ever, but not the worst either. I planted lots of cherry tomatoes this year - which is super fun because you can just stand in the driveway and eat a few handfuls of them every time you drive home or go outside to get the mail. But I also planted a few proper tomato varieties and got a few good crops. I made lots of fresh salsa and fresh pasta sauce - two of my favorite tomato experiences! 

We still have lots of time left in tomato season... so at least if all these other summer goodies are on their way out, I can look forward to a lot more tomato joy. 

What summer produce are you sad to see go? What autumn harvest are you excited about? 


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Jambu Spirit: A Shoe Review!


Livin' the Good Life with my Jambu Spirit Vegan Shoes

This summer I had two main goals: redesign my yoga website, and buy some comfy patio furniture for our backyard. Can you guess which of these lofty goals I actually accomplished? ha ha. Yes, you're looking at our new patio furniture! In all my life, I've never had comfy patio furniture with pillows, and it always seemed so luxe. For years I've just been lying out on the stone when I want to enjoy the back yard (full disclosure: I still like lying on the stones). But this summer, every time I have a little chunk of downtime, you can find me lounging on my new cooshy patio furniture. Reading, resting, catching up on emails, eating lunch... or having "backyard kibble time." Kibble time" is when we give Footie extra kitty kibbles, and we usually give the dogs some too, as you can see from their expectant posture! 

Now it's almost fall, and luckily we also got a cute little fire pit so that we will be able to enjoy the backyard even when the weather cools down a bit. 

This fall I also have four super-cute styles of vegan shoes from Jambu to review, from their new line up of autumn styles. The first pair I'm reviewing are these sporty Spirit Vegan Slip-ons. As you may recall, I am a brand ambassador for Jambu, particularly for their vegan line of shoes. Jambu (and its two sub-brands JSport and JBU) make lots of cute vegan shoes for women in an array of styles. I really appreciate being able to find a selection sporty, classy, casual, and fancy vegan shoes! 

Be mindful that not all Jambu styles are vegan however, so make sure you are checking out the vegan section of their website.



The Spirit Vegan slip-ons are a mid-weight shoe: they aren't heavy, but they do feel warm and substantial. The material is a combination of a really nice faux leather and a stretchy neoprene. They are slip-ons, but you can see that there is also a little velcro tab on the outer ankle that you can undo to make it a bit easier to slip on or off. The neoprene makes these shoes warm to wear... so I think they would be too hot on a hot summer day (but you should be wearing sandals in the summer anyway! or be skipping around barefoot!), but they'll be great for the coming chill of autumn... and even for mild days in the winter if it's not rainy (they aren't waterproof). 

The laces aren't adjustable, so the shoe relies on the overall fit to be comfortably snug. I found these true to size. I don't have exceptionally wide or narrow feet, and I feel like these fit me well, especially with a light sock. 


I really tried to get Footie to come up with me! 

The soles of the Spirit Vegans have great tread and traction - it's even made partly with recycled materials. I had no problem climbing up our tree with my shoes on (I was actually getting ready to prune some shoots off of our magnolia tree). Footie was so curious about my antics, but I just couldn't quite compel him to join me up there! 

These shoes have moderate arch support, and they also have Jambu's super-comfy memory foam insoles. They practically feel like little slippers on my feet! It's so fun to scamper around and do errands and walk the dogs and do my chores, and have my feet feel so cozy and cooshy the whole time. 


At the park where we usually walk our dogs

The Spirit Vegan shoes come in six different colors and they're all super cute and quite different. I had a hard time picking which color to review. The colors are: black with blue laces, blue on blue (so hard for me to resist!), a nice wine/maroon color, white with pale green laces, a "hiker brown" with red laces, and these grey with pink laces. I'm trying to be a grown-up and not get blue shoes in every single style that I review for Jambu (ha ha), and I'm glad I broadened my horizons. I really love these and I have found them quite versatile for my wardrobe. They also look cute with my yoga tights or my jeans, which is great since I spent the vast majority of my life in yoga tights! Since we always take our shoes off for yoga, I love having shoes that I can easily slip in and out of several times a day.  I look forward to wearing these shoes a lot this fall! 


COUPON CODE for 20% OFF! 
If you'd like to try these Spirit Vegan Slip-ons (or any other vegan shoes from Jambu), they have generously given me a code to share with you for 20% off any shoes purchased from Jambu.com (good until December 31st):
VEGANEATS18


Let me know if you have any questions about these shoes, and I'll do my best to answer them. 
And I have three more reviews coming your way soon, of really different styles!