As of 1 minute ago, I am 25 years old.¬† I’ve always felt like something special was going to happen on my 25th birthday, that I would get some sort of air of legitimacy and suddenly be taken much more seriously. Now, I don’t think this is the case. However, I do think that I’ve grown a lot as a person in the past year. I’m not the same girl I was 365 days ago. Veganism has been good to my body (52 pounds as of this morning!), but it’s also been good for my soul. Tomorrow I am going to celebrate with a pre-dawn bike ride up to Will Rogers. A year ago, I could barely make it the mile and a half to work without getting completely winded. I’m going to come home to my apartment and make breakfast. A year ago, I would have had to come home to my then ex-boyfriend, who I was still living with despite being broken up for 9 months. Tomorrow I’ll bring fat-free vegan cupcakes in to work. Last year, I believe I ate an entire full-fat Red Velvet cake over the course of 4 days. Tomorrow night, I will gather with friends for a few drinks. Last year, I don’t even remember what I did because I didn’t feel like I had anything to celebrate.¬†After work today, I drove down to Santa Monica. I walked a bit and then took out my yoga mat for a few vinyassas overlooking the sunset. I can honestly say that I felt alive. In spite of myself and all of the issues and stresses I’m still working through, I felt this wave of contentment wash over me and I realized that I have a good life. Yes, it has its ups and downs, and it had an arguably rough patch from adolescence through college, but I feel like I’ve maybe overcome all of that. Not mentally or emotionally, but at least on the surface. I have a good job, a great circle of friends, a home (albeit a small, rented one). I’ve built out a real support system for myself here in LA, and I’m proud of that.
Thanks to my uncle Jimmy for finding these baby pictures of me and sending them. Look at how young and terrified my parents look.

A funny story: I was working on the following cupcake recipe and added 4 tablespoons of baking soda instead of 4 teaspoons. For those of you who like to get mathy, that’s a 3x difference. In retrospect, I should have just started over, but instead I increased all other ingredients by 3x. The end result is over 4 dozen cupcakes and a cake. The recipe below is just for one, and I iced it with a simple cream cheese frosting.
Very Vegan Velvet Cake
taken from Spectacle

1 can of beets
unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Blend the beets and their water until smooth, measure it out, and add enough applesauce to make 2 cups of liquid. Combine in a bowl with the water, vanilla, and cider vinegar. Mix well.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients and slowly stir into the wet until just blended.
  3. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes for a cake, 20-25 for cupcakes. A toothpick in the center should come out clean.

Optional Peanut Butter Frosting
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
handful of roasted peanuts

Beat together ingredients until well combined and sprinkle in peanuts. This is a great “middle frosting”.