Galentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because I love to celebrate my friends! I made this Galentine’s Day card for a friend of mine and it is inspired by a line Leslie Knope says to her best friend Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation: “Ann, you transcendent little seahorse”. I included this quote in pen and drew a seahorse using pencil and watercolor. I used a variety of colors to represent how fun and unique my friend is. I painted bubbles in the background and added blue coral to give the sea horse a more suitable habitat than a plain white background. The little seahorse sends a heart as a gift of platonic love and appreciation.
Meet Claire and Maddi, vegan athletes. Claire is a senior in high school, and Maddi is a sophomore. Both are competitive figure skaters that train and condition regularly. And both have made the life-changing decision to not consume animal products, to go vegan.
How long have you been vegan?
Claire: Three years.
Maddi: Since September 20, 2017, so a little over a year.
What influenced your decision to go vegan?
Claire: Before I went vegan, I already faced dietary restrictions due to lactose intolerance, which was an influence to my choice. However, my ethical beliefs also influenced my decision.
Maddi: I had a lot of different influences. The first being Claire, who had first introduced me to veganism, and the second being wanting to improve my skating and overall health. Once I did more research on veganism, I started doing it for ethical reasons, as well.
How has your life changed since you went vegan?
Claire: I have become a lot more aware of what I eat and no longer care as much about what others think about my decision.
Maddi: It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned a lot about food and what is actually good and bad for me. A lot of people seem to think that when you are vegan you can’t eat out because restaurants don’t have food for vegans, which I have learned is definitely not the case. So that aspect of my life has not changed much if any. Lastly, I have learned to think for myself and not worry about what other people think.
Have you noticed a difference in your health?
Claire: I have absolutely felt a difference in my health. I have a lot more energy, and in general, I feel stronger.
Maddi: I still get tired but I have way more energy. Also, I feel less bloated after I eat.
How has becoming vegan affected your athletic life?
Claire: Becoming vegan was the best thing as an athlete! I have found my recovery time is much faster now, and I just feel so much better in general.
Maddi: I have noticed a huge improvement in my skating. I had way more energy and endurance. I also started sleeping better which helped me with training and mental health overall.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?
Claire: Eating out has been a slight difficulty. Also, facing judgement from my family members and sometimes strangers too.
Maddi: The biggest struggle is dealing with family, friends, or even strangers that don’t understand or respect my lifestyle. Having to deal with this almost everyday has taught me that I can’t make everyone understand or agree with what I am doing, but I can still do what I think is best for my own health and the world around me.
Explain how you have adapted your daily life.
Claire: I always make sure to have vegan food stocked up and let new people that I know that I have dietary restrictions. I definitely cook all of my food now as well.
Maddi: I started packing my own lunch every day for school and I always check the ingredients of items before I eat or buy them.
How do you order from restaurants?
Claire: Normally when I order from restaurants I’ll pick an already vegetarian item, or I’ll ask the waiter if I can get my item without dairy or other animal products. Most restaurants are very accommodating and don’t mind at all! After all, they are there to serve you.
Maddi: Ordering from restaurants is really not that difficult. I will typically choose an item on the menu with the least amount of non-vegan items in it, and then I’ll ask them to remove whatever isn’t vegan. Other times I order a whole bunch of sides together as my entrée.
What advice would you give people thinking about going vegan?
Claire: Do your research! Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and vitamins. Don’t expect going vegan to turn you into a health guru. Also, don’t restrict yourself of any vegan foods. Lastly, keep everything in moderation.
Maddi: I would definitely say do your research on what being vegan actually is. It is not just eating dairy, meat, etc., there is a whole other ethical side to it. Make sure you educate yourself on what actually happens within the meat and dairy industry. Secondly, do your research on the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Know that people won’t always understand or even agree with your lifestyle and beliefs, and that’s okay. Do what you think is right and don’t worry about what other people think you should do.
What is your typical meal?
Claire: A typical meal would be tofu or edamame and veggies.
Maddi: My typical meal is either a baked potato with ketchup, broccoli, apple, and a soft serve dark chocolate popsicle or some sort of burrito with rice and beans.
What is your favorite vegan recipe?
Claire: My favorite recipe has got to be lentil spaghetti or a really great veggie burger.
Maddi: My favorite recipe is a good veggie burger.
Note From GirlSpring: This is the first part of a fictional series from our one of our contributors. GirlSpring empowers girls to be creative in different outlets, such as fiction writing (as this is). If you want to become a contributor, head over to www.girlspring.com/submit.
Episode 1: “It’s Life”
Hi, my name is Yasmeen Marie Pepei Lopez, I know I know a very very very long name but that’s what my abeula Roseleen named me. I am a sophomore and I go to James County High School but everyone just calls it J.C.
“yasmeen! hurry up, you’re gonna be late!” my mom xiomara yelled.
“coming!” I said as I put on my sneakers and head down the stairs.
“well look who’s alive.” my papá roberto said as he picked up his bag.
“I know, i know..” I said picking up some toast as I heard my brother xzaiver’s car horn beep indicating that he’s about to leave.
“better hurry mija.” my mom said entering the kitchen.
“I’m going, love you guys.” I said hurrying outside.
“love you too, be safe!” my mom yelled as I approached the car and hopped in.
“took you long enough.” xzaiver said pulling off.
“yeah yeah, whatever.” I said.
“what if I’m late?” my sister ava said.
and here it goes, let me just give you a run down on my life.
I have three siblings, xzaiver who’s 17, ava who’s 12, then joey who’s 7. we all have very different personalities, just like me and my best friends, but in the end we’re one big family.
speaking of friends, let me introduce you to them.
first, we have isiah, he’s very outspoken and a wild card you could say. he LOVES makeup, and you rarely see him without it he’ll probably start his own makeup company one day, he also happens to be gay but he’s open about it and we wouldn’t trade him for the world.
next, we have kacey, she’s the artist of the group you will never ever see her without her pencils and her sketchbook. most people think she’s shy but when you get to know her..let’s just say not so shy..
then there’s elijah, we just call him eli. he’s the star quaterback, the “hot jock” everyone loves. even through he plays football and seems like that “hottie” that’s too cool for school, he’s actually a huge geek. he loves astrology and star wars and anything that deals with the galaxy but not many people know that but us..
and onto ivy, ivy is the mom of the group she’s also putting herself before us and also keeping us in shape and at times out of trouble. not at all times though, she loves to dance so she will occasionally drag her to a party or two and then.. a whole new ivy comes out.
next is nova, nova is the more reserved and quite one, her parents hold certain standards over her that kind of makes her not that social, but when she’s around us she’s herself. she’s actually really funny and loves to collect cameras. she has a huge passion for the photographer world.
after her, there’s isabella, but we call her izzy. she has a passion for music and playing instruments, you will never not hear her singing or making some type of music.
last but not least, theodore, yes that his name but he goes by teddy. he loves nature and animals and he’s always dragging us on some type of adventure. he will not just stay in one place, he’s determined to travel the entire world and we most definitely can see that.
and that’s our group, we’re not all perfect and we don’t always get along but hey, that’s natural.
“see if one of your friends can take you home, I have baseball practice” xzaiver said as we hopped out.
‘thanks for the late heads up” I said sarcastically
“you’re most definitely are welcome” he smirked walking away to his group of friends.
“yass yasmeen!’ isiah yelled out walking up to me.
” you look fab-ou-lous honey!” he said causing me to laugh.
“thanks siah, where is everyone else?” I asked as we intertwined arms heading into the school.
“I think they-” is all he could get out before they all head towards our way.
“right here.” he laughed.
“morning chicas” isiah said hugging everyone as I do the same.
“why are you always so happy in the morning?” kacey asked rolling her eyes.
‘because, who wouldnt be this happy when you look like this?” he said doing a vogue and walking down the hall as if it was a fashion show walk way.
the bell ring sounds for homeroom.
“and it starts, see you guys at lunch.” I say as we all part our ways.
nova, teddy and I head to the same class.
“so there’s this party this weekend at rebecca’s house, we should go” teddy said as we took our seats.
“not really up for a party…you know how my parents are.” nova said.
“just say you’re staying at my place to study.” I said.
“I would but its too close to weekly exams and you know how my dad gets around this time” she said sadly.
she’s right, you know how people makes jokes about how smart asians are and how their parents are super super strict well those are nova’s parents. they expect her to make all A’s and be the perfect daughter and go to church and be an innocent angel.
“we’ll come up with something.” teddy said.
“maybe..” nova replied.
“okay, what’s really wrong? you seem more off them usual.” teddy said as the teacher told us to quiet down so he could take roll.
“I’ll tell you later.” she said turning her attention onto the teacher.
teddy and I gave each other a look, nova’s usually not like this but whatever it is hopefully it’s nothing too bad but in this group you honestly never know.
but hey, everyone goes through all kinds of stuff especially at our age but that’s life.
The Do’s and Dont’s of a Successful Friendsgiving:
Hold on…what is Friendsgiving? Friendsgiving is when you recreate a Thanksgiving meal with your friends. AKA another excuse to hang out and eat delicious food with your buds.
DO spread the responsibility:
Some of us are real go getters and love to handle all the details. That’s all fine and dandy, but it can become stressful when you run out of time, money or dare I say…accidentally burn the turkey. (I may be speaking from experience here…)
It’s a lot of fun when everyone contributes to the making of a meal. So, instead of putting the burden on one or two people to provide for everyone else, make it a potluck. With a potluck, everyone is in charge of bringing a certain dish, appetizer, side, dessert, drink or set of utensils.
It’s important to know that a friend might need to borrow a serving dish or your oven when they arrive. If you’re the host of Friendsgiving, make sure you know this information ahead of time so you can plan ahead. No one wants to watch the mashed potatoes get cold while they wait for the Turkey finish. (Again, speaking from experience)
Unless you are a descendant of Chef Gordon Ramsay (which if you are good for you), don’t feel the need to make everything from scratch. We all have good intentions in the beginning, but juggling all the different cook times can be tricky and before you know it the doorbell is ringing.
PSA: If you are like me and and cannot cook to save your life (no shame, I admit it) there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from the prepared foods section. Sprinkle some fresh herbs on that sucker and voilà.
DON’T (or try not) to have Friendsgiving after Thanksgiving:
Why? Well I don’t know about you, but after a typical Thanksgiving I’m toast. As in if I eat another bite, I will may not be able to get out of this chair.
Besides, most people when they take their last bite at Thanksgiving are on to the next wonderful thing. Christmas. The holiday all other holidays compete with. Bye-Bye pumpkin spice, hello peppermint. Know what I’m saying?
Not to mention, the holidays are a very busy time for most people and after Thanksgiving it’s difficult for people to make time in their schedules.
DO anticipate the supplies you will need:
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Friendsgiving is a feast. It’s better to be over prepared than run out of forks and have to eat with your hands. Coordinate with your friends and ask if they need additional serving utensils.
A few key items you may not think about until the day of. (Psssst…get them now so you don’t have a panic attack later)
-Platters and big serving dishes
-Napkins or Paper Towels if you’re a messy eater like me
-A good thanksgiving playlist
-An empty belly because nothing’s worse than staring at beautiful food and not getting to eat any
DO have Friendsgiving in a space big enough for everyone:
No one wants to bump elbows while they are trying to eat their meal. Have your friend with the biggest space or table host the event so everyone can be comfortable. Speaking of tables…here are some decorating ideas if you’re feeling festive.
SIDE NOTE: You can even get crazy and theme your Friendsgiving. Did someone say pajama-themed Friendsgiving? What about a Vegan Friendsgiving? The possibilities are endless, but if you are low key want to keep it simple. Gurl, keep it simple. If you want to go all out and create the Pinterest Perfect Friendsgiving. GO for it.
Share your Friendsgiving with Girl Spring and tag us on Instagram or Facebook!
Finally, DO help clean:
Whether you hosted Friendsgiving or not, it’s a good idea to help clean up. We’ve all seen the daunting pile of dishes after a big holiday meal. If you consider yourself to be a generally good person, why not roll up your sleeves and help get it done quicker?