Thursday began brighter and earlier, with a 7 am wakeup call. Lord help me! I grabbed a complimentary coffee on my way out the door, which helped to keep me warm on my walk to Victoria’s. Breakfast was a delicious oatmeal buffet which I washed down with black tea. Oh yes, I was caffeinating heavily.
The day’s schedule opened once again with Victoria, this time offering a special seminar entitled Working With The Overweight Or Food-Addicted Client. Believe it or not, Victoria herself is a recovering food addict/compulsive eater (and advises Overeaters Anonymous). Her personal experience lends her great insight into these complicated psychological issues. I certainly learned a lot!
Victoria gave the next presentation as well, but in between we took a break and I was able to chat with some of my classmates. Like that guy up there, Russell. Of all the people I met at MSVA, I think I felt the most connection with Russell, which is pretty ironic because if you know anything about me you know that I am very much an atheist, rationalist, not-so-spiritual gal. And Russell? Is a minister.
But we actually have a lot in common! We share the same strange (at times awkward) sense of humor, and he’s a fellow introvert. And, his story really touched me. Russell had bone cancer when he was 13 years old and his left arm was amputated. Then 26 years later, at the age of 39, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. That’s when he went vegan . . . and that was nearly a decade ago. I can’t even imagine what he’s been through, but it shines in his wisdom and humility. Also, he has “vegan glow-y skin” like woah – very impressive! Love you Russell!
After the break Victoria gave us a quick Intro To Ayurveda, which I found fascinating since I don’t know anything about Ayurveda beyond people frequently commenting that I have a “classic Vata body” (my classmate Cortney, a Jivamukti yoga instructor, had said just that the day before!). So this was a great introduction, and I have to say I really like Ayurveda as an alternative modality. It makes sense to me, and I appreciate that so many of the ancient techniques are borne out by modern science (such as oil pulling).
By 11 am we were bundling up and heading out, subway-bound for Brooklyn – the home of Vaute (formerly Vaute Couture).
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, founder and owner of Vaute, gave us a passionate talk on the burgeoning vegan marketplace, her own experiences as an entrepreneur, and general tips on being a badass business woman (she also has an MBA). She said one of my favorite things I heard all week, which was: “The more authentic you are, the louder your voice will be.” Preech!
From Vaute we took another subway back to Manhattan, and I was excited. Like, really, really excited. Because we were having lunch at a restaurant I’ve dreamed about and drooled over for literally YEARS.
The one and only Pure Food and Wine! An all raw gourmet restaurant which regularly wins totally-not-raw, totally-not-vegan awards, because it’s just that damn good. And oh, how it was!
I had the “Swan Greens” juice (cucumber, spinach, dandelion, pear, grapefruit, tarragon, spearmint, and yuzu) followed by the “S & M” salad (greens, avocado, hemp seeds, dulse, rosemary crackers, pumpkin seed, with lemon dressing). I also sampled my companion’s desserts, including the famous tiramisu, a lemon bar, and a malomar which completely blew my mind.
Our next stop was MooShoes, full of cruelty-free shoes and accessories. My class mates picked up many amazing pairs of shoes and many fabulous purses (seriously, check their site out – their stuff is great!) Also, I was thumbing through the books and was shocked to stumble across MINE! So cool! (and I majorly blushed and refused to make a big deal and take a picture with it, which I’m now totally regretting)
And around the corner from MooShoes . . .
Babycakes! All vegan, lots of gluten-free, amazingly delicious bakery. We all got afternoon treats, and most of us also got breakfast for the following morning, since our first stop would be “on location”. Babycakes is super tiny and super adorable.
From there we were supposed to tour a cruelty-free/vegan cosmetics boutique, but upon arrival we were told they were closed. Bummer! And by then it was getting dark, and getting late, and man we’d done a lot of walking that day. It was our “free night” but by the time we got back to Victoria’s, I couldn’t even imagine going out again. I was wiped, like totally and completely kaput.
Victoria gave me the low-down on her favorite neighborhood Indian place, and I had it delivered to my hotel room. Feast, FaceTime with Waits, face plant into my pillow. ZzzzzZZZzzz.