We don’t just live on alcohol alone – we love our coffee too!  There are two kinds of coffee shops:  one that you can pop in to grab a quick coffee to take with you: these places often have uncomfortable and cramped seating to discourage lingering – I’m looking at you Starbucks; then there are the places that just scream welcome.  I love those coffee shops and I have had a bit of a hard time finding one that I really like.  But Eureka!, I finally found a great coffee shop that has ample seating with bright, natural light. The wifi code is posted at the counter, and you can borrow a portable charging station!  Decent pop music played at a medium loud volume that can be heard above the pleasant hum of other customers.  

Cool Coffee Shop Vibe at The Lost Bean

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Meet Lacey Johnson. Sometimes her hair is pink. Sometimes it’s blue. Sometimes it’s purple! (Our personal favorite.) No matter what color Lacey’s hair might be, the one constant about her is that she’s all about music. We love how unique, fun and talented she is! You can find her on YouTube where she shares a variety of covers from different genres, especially of gaming and pop culture. Did we mention she’s also a singer? We met her in 2014 at 17th Street Recording in Costa Mesa when Marissa (MaryAnne’s daughter) worked on a live studio recording of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Trouble Sleeping” and Lacey was the pianist and background vocalist. Since then, we’ve worked together on other song projects. She recently produced an original song, providing all the instrumentation for “Don’t Forget to Say Hello” with vocalist Armi Abiera and songwriter Jim Wendt. She shares her music on YouTube and also streams live music and gaming on Twitch.

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Looking for a vegan restaurant in OC? I recommend Freesoul Caffe. Located in the heart of Old Town Tustin, this cozy restaurant offers an array of foods, using only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. This includes no eggs, honey, or dairy products of any kind. You’ll discover all kinds of healthy entrees, soups, organic salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizzas and tasty desserts. Bring your hungry tummy and prepare to be happy! 

I enjoy the relaxed vibe of this place so much. Next time I’m bringing my laptop and getting some writing done at Freesoul Caffe! It’s the perfect place to enjoy an almond milk latte and chia pudding with berries (my absolute favorite dish!) for breakfast or their colorful plate of roasted cauliflower (not pictured, sorry I ate it too fast) and miso ramen for lunch or dinner. They also have an almond milk matcha latte which is so delightful. Another delicious veggie plate is their charred brussels sprouts with Medjool dates, garlic, chili flakes, vinaigrette. Those are my favorite things to eat when I have to opportunity to go. On a cool evening, ask for their chili. You will be surprised how good all of their dishes taste and it’s all plant-based. Whether you are a new or seasoned vegan or vegetarian or one who likes to enjoy a healthy meal, this place is for you. It’s great for some quality time with a girlfriend or a date night. (Side note: if you have any nut allergies, please consult with your server. Lots of vegan foods have nut ingredients.)

vegan restaurant OC Freesoul Caffe

My favorite!!! The chia pudding with fresh berries.

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Someone recently asked me: How do you make a “DIY Michelada“. That got me thinking. We’re back from our summer travels so lets get right into it with some fav summer drinks for these hot days!  I don’t necessarily have a favorite drink; but rather, it kinda depends on where I am and what I’m doing.  Dive bar: Makers and Ginger; nice bar:  Bombay Sapphire martini extra cold and extra olives; Italian vibe:  Negroni first, then red wine;  Japanese vibe:  always both sake and Asahi beer; Thai vibe:  either an ice cold Singha or Heineken (yes, in Bangkok, everyone drinks Heineken) or an icy glass of whiskey and soda over ice, I can go on and on but you guys get the idea. 

Sooooo, summer time means lots of outdoor activities, and an old time favorite is going out to a baseball game.  We are so lucky to have some awesome ball parks within driving distance.  Our hometown park is of course Angel Stadium; Dodger Stadium is just a short jaunt away, and our family makes several trips during the season to Petco Park in San Diego.  

Michelada at the Ball Park

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Looking for a vegan or vegetarian restaurant nearby? Have you heard of the Happy Cow website? They also have a handy app so that you can find any vegan or vegetarian restaurant near you. It also makes traveling so much easier, as you plan your dining. For your upcoming trips, you can “Create a Trip” and search for vegan/vegetarian restaurants near your destination and add the places that interest you to your trip list. We’re so excited for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas! I added a few places that we might check out. For those moments at home when we are struggling with what to cook and decide, “Let’s just eat out tonight..” We can pick somewhere new that we haven’t tried before, or look at our favorites and decide.

I really love it for those long drives to Los Angeles when I take Marissa to her auditions. We have discovered a few wonderful vegan restaurants using the Happy Cow app. One of our favorites is this Thai restaurant called Vegan Glory at 8393 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone: (323)653-4900. They have a delicious vegan orange “chicken.” (Marissa brought in her own Starbucks drink. Sorry!)

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