Rolling on

Published July 8, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Hello!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been slacking so much on the blog that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin again! I have several, long, picture filled posts I could write, but it’s probably better that I just write about what’s on my mind today, and that’s where I’m at with roller derby.

(But first, I should probably multi-task, and get some bleach on my roots… Ok, bleach on…)

After feeling a little burnt out, and having little hiccups and travels, I’m finally starting to feel really motivated derby wise again. Which is great! :)  Getting on Rat Lab was a bit terrifying and overwhelming at first, and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to stay on. There are two levels of Rat Lab. The fundamentals (which I’m on) and Competitive Rat Lab, which just like it sounds means you scrimmage and bout, have a number of practices you commit to per week, and also become draft eligible for one of Rat City’s four home teams. Even though I wasn’t on CRL, the new pressures associated with skating with these much higher level players was something that took a little getting used to. But I’m happy to report that I’m staying on, and feeling more capable and motivated all the time!

Speaking of more capable… we had PFM scrimmage on Sunday. And while I jammed less than usual (partially b/c I wanted more practice blocking, and partly because my ankle was swollen from a wheel hit to the ankle bone a few days prior), for the first time I actually felt like I was doing some effective things as a blocker!

(Bleach off!)

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And even tried a little backwards blocking too!

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Of course, I’m still learning. One of my struggles is endurance, but it’s definitely getting better. I think part of it has to do with sleep and hydration, which I’m perpetually trying to improve. But it’s no secret that I was never physically active as an adult prior this, besides dancing to bands on the weekends in my twenties, so a big part has been just getting myself in shape. Another factor that I think is playing a bigger part than I realize is the entirely foreign [to me] concept of mental game, which I haven’t quite figured out yet. For this, I just started reading Mind Gym, based on good reviews from rollergirls I know. I will report back on how that goes, but so far it seems to be about positive thinking, so that sounds pretty good for a start.

What else? I’m getting very close weight wise to the heaviest I ever got, which was the summer I gained 15 pounds before college. (Apparently I just couldn’t wait to pack on my freshman 15!) And you know what? I look pretty darn good. That weight has certainly been distributed differently this time around though, as it seems to all be in muscle in my lower body. And again, like before, I’m getting faster. Penny counted me at somewhere around 29 laps in 5 minutes last night. (It was hard to hear when exactly the time got called.) So those muscles are definitely doing what they’re supposed to.

 

Here's a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Here’s a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Besides all that, I’ve also taken up the job of helping to coordinate the new skater sessions for PFM. So between PFM, Rat Lab, volunteering for Rat events, general summer activities, and life, I guess it’s probably no wonder why I’ve been a little quiet on here, huh?! I’ll be attending Jet City‘s Bombercon at the end of July, and most likely Rose City‘s Derby Daze boot camp down in Portland at the end of August, so don’t be surprised if a lot of my next posts are derby, derby, derby. :)

OH! And I also forgot to tell you, I had a slight name change to VAMPIRA BITELY!

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My new helmet decal is on it’s way from Helmet Candy (on etsy) in California as I write this to you, and she was even nice enough to make me some awesome fangs to boot!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH, and also. THOMAS IS GOING TO DO MEN’S DERBY now!

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He was taken on for a salary position at his job, and has had health insurance now since July 1st! YAY!!!! He finally decided to get back on quads and give men’s derby a try, so I bought him a pair of Bont boots (same as mine!) that had to be made, because his size was out of stock. In the meantime one of the refs (and also a girl that I skate with’s hubby) was nice enough to lend Thomas his old pair. As expected, even after not being on quads since he was 8, Thomas immediately took to these with no problems and will likely be a much better derby player than I am on day 1! (He’s a skilled inline speed skater who learned how to rollerskate at the ripe old age of 2!) He’ll be starting training with Puget Sound Outcast Derby as soon as he gets all his gear, and we’ll now be practicing and watching each other skate in the same space, which is SUPER AWESOME. He may even go to BomberCon with me, as a skater. We shall see…

Thanks for reading!

Vampira Bitely

\/^^^\/

Barnana’s gone Coconut!

Published July 1, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

COCONUT Hello again! So much busy going on over here lately, but here’s a long overdue review for you about Barnana‘s newest vegan flavor. You might recall I did a little giveaway featuring their original Barnana snacks during Vegan Mofo last year. Well, they contacted me again to take a taste of their new Coconut flavor. Like last time, they also sent along an additional package of vegetarian, but not vegan, Peanut Butter flavor too for Thomas to try. It seems that the only thing holding them back from being vegan is that same “honey like glaze” that they had on their chocolate flavor, which is all the information I’ve been able to get about the coating. Basically, they were barnanas coated with peanut butter and glazed. Thomas loved them, and didn’t even have to share!

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Fortunately for me though, he doesn’t like coconut anything, so we each had our own bags!

MINE!

MINE!

These new Coconut Barnana treats are GREAT!! Have you had raw macaroons or power balls? They’re  kind of like that, but get by with just the banana and coconut. They are a little softer than the original, and get a nice little texture contrast with the shredded coconut mixed in. Subtly sweet, with a little complex deeper flavor from the dehydrated ripe bananas. These turned out to be cravable, and made a great pre-derby workout snack. Interested in getting your own Barnana snacks? You can sign up at their website for samples and discounts, as well as shop and use their store locator, look for them in your local health food shop, or order some from Amazon.

 

Travel posts coming up soon. As always, thanks for reading!!

Announcement: Vida Vegan Con III Date Change!

Published June 11, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

VVC 3 date changed to weekend AFTER Memorial Day for 2015!

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

New date for Vida Vegan Con III!!

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict with our event space (we’ll tell ya just where on Friday, stay tuned!), Vida Vegan Con has adjusted our official date. That’s right, we’ve all got an extra week to wait! Deep breaths, noochy popcorn, and please adjust your calendars and travel plans accordingly.

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Head here for exclusive Early Bird rate (launching Friday June 13) and more Membership Drive options, including inclusive packages, blog features, or a trip to Portland to brunch with us!

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Hello!

Published June 9, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Photo by Steve Messerer

May PFM Scrimmage – Photo by Steve Messerer

Hello there!
Just a quick note to say, Holy Cow! Has it really been so long?! May was a super busy month of cancelled practices, traveling to Portland, scrimmage, traveling to Florida, and being sick, and it seems that I skipped writing even one update during the whole month! (A first, I think.) I have a whole bunch of things to tell you about though, so stay tuned. Posts coming soon!:D

<3
Ty Vampira Knightley

VVCIII Takes On…Austin!

Published April 29, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

Just announced: Vida Vegan Con 3 will take place in Austin, TX! (#VVCIII)

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!

Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…

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Austin, Texas. May 22–24, 2015.

That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.

We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:

  • lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
  • our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
  • just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because…

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Derby body image struggles and happiness

Published April 22, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Here is a great picture of me doing a Mohawk, demonstrating how even with my new muscles, my new strong thighs are not fat whatsoever! Stupid brain!

Here is a recent picture of me doing a Mohawk, demonstrating how contrary to what my brain was saying, my new strong thighs look pretty good! Stupid brain!

I originally started writing this post back in February, when I was freaking out because my weight had climbed. I was hoping to get useful feedback from other female athletes, but also reluctant to talk about a  topic that can be emotionally triggering for some readers. (But here it is!)

I’d never been really been athletic or active before derby. So of course I thought I might drop a couple of pounds and tone up with this new venture. Which is exactly what happened… at first. And that was all fine and good, until the scale started to creep up, right up to a number that I had only seen once or twice before, and didn’t care to see again. PANIC MODE!

In my family, the insecurity has always been our thighs. (Even though there is actually nothing wrong with them. We’re freaking Cuban, that’s all!) As a kid and teen, I was super self-conscious, especially about my thighs. (Which I didn’t realize until years later, were SO FINE!) Societal “norms” have changed a lot since my childhood, and gotten a lot more multi-culturally friendly, which has helped so much. But when the scale started showing me higher numbers, and all my pants started fitting tight in the thighs, all I could think about was how much food I was eating, and how I needed to make it stop. However, just when I decided I needed to “zip it” until further notice, someone from my team posted this article. (Just a few hours later, as a matter of fact!)

Basically the article says: if you don’t eat enough for your sport, you’re making it very likely that you’ll get injured, because the metabolism will take what it needs, even if it’s from your healthy new bones and muscles. WHAT?! That got my attention.

So then I went through this whole period of trying to reprogram my brain. Part of this was doing a serious assessment with a wall mirror placed at an angle on the floor so that I could see my whole body. I spent about 20 minutes one night in my underwear looking over my entire physique prodding, flexing, and jiggling while Thomas giggled nearby.

I learned several things. 1. My butt and thighs are much firmer now! 2. There are muscles and definition that never before existed! 3. My calves look awesome! :D At the same time I also coined the phrase, “the proof is in the laps!”, because I had also recently gotten a lot faster on the track. That’s when I started to make my peace with it.

Soon after, a couple of other relevent articles came out, including this one, written by a Rat City Rollergirls, Derby Liberation Front skater, who is one of our coaches, and also a physical therapist! It was nice to read about her very similar struggles as I was going through the same thing. When I talked to another girl that I skate with about it, she confessed she had ripped a pair of her work pants about the same time that I was outgrowing my scrub pants.

It seems to be a thing that happens to a lot of girls. Which is why I thought it was worth mentioning.

So what did I do? Well, I finally had to order some new underwear and scrub pants. I mostly just wear scrubs or derby clothes these days, but in the event that I do something social (like go watch another team’s game), I’ve been wearing skirts and dresses because trying to get my jeans on is NO FUN. But eventually I’ll have to try to find some jeans that fit too. (Which has already been challenging with the skinny jeans not being thigh/butt friendly, even before derby!)

The funny thing is I’m TOTALLY happy now with my new body. I love that I’m getting firmer, faster, and stronger! I think watching the Olympics also helped tremendously. Seeing all those strong, muscled legs really helped me to look at my body in a more athletic way, instead of just as an ornament. I remember in high school thinking to myself that I would never do a sport like soccer because I didn’t want to bulk up my legs! So ironic now. But really, I’m pretty proud of me for getting around my deeply embedded, self-loathing head trip!

Here’s another blog post that I thought was great, talking about how roller derby improves body image: here!

Most of all I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be involved in a sport that embraces all body types, and all kinds of people. It’s done a lot for me in ways that I really didn’t anticipate, and I know it does that for so many people out there too.

 

<3,

Ty / Vampira Knightley / Vamp

Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balm – A Review

Published April 16, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Thank you, Crazy Rumors!

Thank you, Crazy Rumors!

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found awesome vegan lip balm! People had been telling me for a long time to try Crazy Rumors, but I was happy with my HURRAW! (reviewed here), so I didn’t bother. That is until I started cutting almonds out of my diet (Allergic, and I barely ever break out in hives now!) and realized sweet almond oil was a main ingredient in the latter.

Allergic, yet again!

Allergic, yet again!

Unfortunately, my path to allergy free lip love was not direct. First I picked up this baby from Crazy Rumors’ HibisKiss line. It worked great as far as moisturizing was concerned, and I loved that it was available in a variety of subtle shades. Just one problem, every time I applied it my throat would swell up (and stay swollen for hours) and I would also get symptoms ranging from a runny nose, to coughing fits, to sneezing that would immediately resolve when I wiped it off. I persisted applying it for a week, hoping that it really wasn’t my new lip gloss, but in the end I had to admit defeat and toss it. I’m assuming it’s the hibiscus in it. I’m pretty allergic to all things floral, so it’s really not a big surprise.

Despite that unfortunate introduction, I decided to give their regular balm a chance, and I’m so glad that I did. No almond oil, no floral fragrances, and their regular natural lip balm comes in a bunch of safe-for-me flavors, which I’ll describe below.

Coffee: I haven’t been able to drink coffee for years (Tea is my hardstuff), but I thought it’d be nice to smell it. This one turned out to be a little more like the old acid coffee taste/smell to me that I find off-putting. (Coffee breath?) Not my fave flavor, but the balm itself works great.

Chocolate Mint: More minty than chocolatey, and kinda subtle. I decided this is a good one for bedtime.

Pistachio: Yum! It definitely tastes like pistachio ice cream and cake! So good. This one lives in my labcoat at work.

Rootbeer (not pictured): I went back to Vegan Haven and got another one for my regular coat pocket, since I gave the coffee one to Thomas. LOVE THIS!

Conclusion:

This formula is absolutely fantastic! By the time I acquired these, my lips were cracking, burning, and splitting from the lack of lip lube. In two days they were fully healed! (Below) I’m usually the type that likes to peel and bite at my lips, and I don’t even do that now, because they’re always in perfect shape!

Thank you Crazy Rumors!

Happy, healthy, moisturized.

Happy, healthy, moisturized!

I made Rat Lab AND got new skates! :D

Published April 6, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

Quick post to brag about my big deal derby accomplishments this past week! If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been, well, I realized last night (after two back to back practices, and after watching another league’s bout) that I skated 6 of 7 days last week! I wasn’t consciously trying to do that, but that’s just how it ended up. Part of the reason was that it was really nice and sunny all week, so we went to skate around Green Lake last Sunday, and then Thomas had new wheels to try out, and then I got new skates.

What’s that, new skates?! I HAVE AWESOME VEGAN SKATES NOW?! YES, YES I DO!

They look like this!

They look like this!

The Bont microfiber boots I ordered during Fast Girl’s annivesary sale came in, and Thursday I was able to get them mounted and molded. Unfortunately, the plates I had on my old skates were too big for the new boots (so I will be selling them, as well as my other skates) but I liked them so much, I bought them again in the right size in a really pretty red.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

These are incredibly light, and I got to skate in them a little bit yesterday afternoon. I already love them. Just have to finish heat molding the toe box, and get used to the slightly looser truck setting that I have them at right now.

And then the extra big news…

I skated for the Rat City Rollergirls assessment yesterday to try to get on Rat Lab Fundamentals. (read all about their multi tier freshmeat program here) After skating with their rec league sporadically, and having a few of the girls I skated with make it on in the last couple of months, I decided to go for it. I tried to remain as calm as possible all week, and not let me talk myself out  of it. (It helped that one of my good friends from PFM was going too!) It was a hard practice, but I made it through the entire thing, remained positive, and gave it my all. I got my closest to 27 in 5 yet, just a foot or two short of the whistle! I think I will definitely be getting there on my next attempt, after a plateau of 26.75! And even though I was sure that they’d pass on me this time, when it was all said and done, I received my congratulatory email yesterday as I was getting ready to go watch the Tilted Thunder Rail Bird‘s bout (banked track roller derby). I was in complete shock and overjoyed!

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night.

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night. (Photo by Thomas)

So I will now be officially training with the Division 1 WFTDA ranked #13  team, Rat City Rollergirls!!!!!! SO excited and thankful for the opportunity to take my training and skills up to the next level, just had to share. I would stay and tell you more, but I actually need to get dressed for my regular team practice!

I’m still working on finishing up that post on roller derby and body image, so that should be coming up this week!

As always, thanks for reading!

Ty / Vampira Knightley

PS- Check out the awesome dinner we had last night at In the bowl after my practices! It’s an all vegetarian place in Capitol Hill, right next to our apartment. None of the mock meats are vegan, but we love tofu anyway…

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

The triumphant return of Highline: Seattle’s only vegan bar!

Published March 20, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Around a month ago, a wonderful, fantastic, should-I-really-get-my-hopes-up? rumor started fluttering around vegan circles in Seattle… Highline is going to re-open their kitchen, but just for brunch. I was overjoyed, and immediately planned on starting a twitter campaign to let them know that I supported them. (Which I promptly forgot about, and never ended up doing!) Fortunately for us, this rumor turned out to be partially true.

Highline was planning to re-open, but only for dinner between the hours of 4 and 8, and only on Mondays and Tuesdays, to start.

So of course we were there on the very first day of renewed food service. And the day after. And the week after that. And so on.  Afterall, this is the bar we most fell in love with as soon as we moved to Seattle. The whole first year we lived in First Hill, we would check craigslist for apartments, and map them to see how close we could get to it. So you can imagine how sad we were when they closed their kitchen last summer. And even more so every time we passed the glowing sign these last 5 months, since we did in fact end up moving ever so close by.

So here’s what they promised:

We’ll be serving food from 4pm-8pm Monday’s and Tuesday’s for the next while. The menu and days, though short and sweet now, will expand as the weeks pass by. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone over the few weeks! On behalf of all the staff, a HUGE “thank you” to everyone who’s helped spread the word and aims to support us! This is a long time in the works and we expect to exceed everyone’s expectations. love-Highline Bar

And here’s what they delivered:

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos and Seitan Fingers

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos $9,  and Seitan Fingers $8

The above was from the opening night. They even came over to see how the food was, and to get our feedback on how we thought the reinvented Seitan Fingers compared. We were thrilled. They now have a dedicated taco section to their abbreviated menu, and after having these, and the ones from Taco Tuesdays of the past, I think it was an extremely wise and tasty decision!

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

These sandwiches were okay. I ordered the Reubender and it was pretty good, though I’ve had better. Thomas seemed to like it a lot, but to be fair, that’s typically the type of sandwich Thomas will order, and not so much my go to. I thought his sandwich was pretty good, except it was just a bit on the bland side. Either the tofu needed marinade or it needed a punchier sauce. They didn’t ask that week, so I didn’t get to give them the feedback that time. Not bad though. I’ve always loved whatever bread that is that they use.

Then there was a week when we didn’t get there in time for food, but stayed for a little while for Britt’s birthday. (Not pictured!)

The Bell Toll $10, and that night's special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

The Bell Toll $10, and that night’s special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

This was from our food last week. I decided to go with that night’s special, despite the crazy sounding cactus that was throwing everyone off. I’m pretty sure I’ve had cactus before, and basically as long as it’s not an animal or a mushroom, I’m game. YUM! I saved one for later, and it ended up still being really good after sitting in the fridge for nearly a week. Haha. Yah, totally ate it days later. ;) Thomas’ sandwich was good too, especially after clearing all the mushrooms off!

Verdict:

So far, so good! We really love the punk, gothy, rock vibe of this bar, and will be supporting them in all their efforts. It was easy for people from other vegan friendly towns to complain about this or that off the old menu, but there was a tremendous void when Highline shut down; it was the only all vegan bar we had! Personally, I had very little to complain about the old menu besides that the quality of the food was sometimes inconsistent. I think with the smaller menu and their concerted effort, they’ll be able to keep that in check this time around, and hopefully be able to expand their dinner service again too!

WELCOME BACK, HIGHLINE! :D

The new booze menu!

The new booze menu!

A very poorly lit pic of their new menu!

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Published March 19, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache

Tonight was a pretty inspired evening! I came home craving cake and chocolate. Not too much of a mystery why, since everyone at work got to eat from a very nice looking cake today. Truly, two of the girls tried to pick me up a vegan cupcake this morning, so they at least they did try to include me, but man, that cake did look good!

A quick text to Thomas determined that he’d take me up on the offer of doing my laundry if I made cupcakes. (Score!) So I got to spend tonight doing all kinds of non-derby things like shaving my legs (they were completely grown out! at over 2 months, it was a new record for me), doing my toenails, putting away laundry, and baking! Woo! Grooming, accomplishments, AND delicious goodies!

I made these using Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Just a few of shakes of cayenne pepper into the chocolate cupcake batter, and half a recipe of chocolate ganache made with half a bar of Green & Black’s Spiced Chilli dark chocolate. Wow, ganache is simple to make, and way easier than going the frosting route! It was my first time and it only had 3 ingredients: soy milk, chocolate, and maple syrup, which I just stirred until smooth over low heat. Easy!

If you like spiced chocolate, I highly recommend trying this or a similar variation. The cupcakes came out perfectly moist and rich! Mmm!

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And here are the boys being adorable while the cupcakes were cooling. It was a lovely, productive evening at home. <3

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