My birthday dinner!

Birthday dinner of epic proportions.

In a matter of days my vegan soul sister Melisser (The Urban Housewife) is moving to Vienna. Amazing, right? It’s silly, because she’s all the way in San Francisco now anyway, but I admit I’m a little sad knowing that soon she’ll be even further away from me. Of course, once her book The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More hits the shelves I know we’ll be reunited because that shit is going to sweep the nation. A world-wide book signing is just around the corner, and there’s a Barnes and Noble RIGHT by my house. And in true Melisser style, the girl recently launched a new project, Cruelty-free Face, just before splitting the country! She’s bonkers, but it gives me one more way to keep up with my favorite Animal Lib warrior.

I was up reading some of her old posts last night and thinking about how crazy it is that two food bloggers from different sides of the tracks (hi, San Francisco and Chicago might as well be different planets) bonded over a love of Trader Joe’s sandwich cookies and a guy named Morrissey. I’m very lucky to have made such an outgoing, compassionate and sass-mouthed friend over these past few years. And I would not have wanted to spend my 30th birthday watching footage of people being mauled by wild animals with anyone else. So here’s a recap of some of the stuff Melisser and I have done together, and some of my favorite Melisser moments.


  • After several months of bullshitting, a finally get around to making Bake and Destroy t-shirts. A girl named Melisser, one of the first people to ever comment on my fledgling blog, buys the very first one.


  • Melisser crashes at my house for what I believe is her first trip to Chicago. After getting over the initial shock of Teno’s 6am wake up calls and the massive amounts of fake meat in my freezer, she decides to time to bake. And together, we make the WORST VEGAN CINNAMON ROLLS EVER.
  • A few days later, we took our waterproof eyeliner for a test drive and braved a monsoon to check out the Renegade Craft Fair.
  • Meanwhile, Melisser formally announced that she was the owner of Sugar Beat Sweets


  • In June of 2009, Melisser returned to Chicago with husband Ryan in tow. It was a world-wind tour involving weird space ice cream from i-Cream, disgusting vegan fast food from Veggie Bite and a box full of vegan donuts from Glazed. We even made a video!
  • I received a third visit from Melisser in honor of my 30th birthday in December of last year. Of course she documented everything we ate on her blog – highlights include making vegan marshmallows, getting matching Cram Cream tattoos, and…
  • Fritz Pastry! I was really excited to take Melisser for unexpected vegan delights at my friends Elaine & Nate’s brand-new pastry shop. We made a video and I later interviewed the couple.


  • Melisser writes a book. After years of near-TV shows and almost-books (shared experiences that Melisser and I bonded over during all three of her visits) the stars aligned and Melisser authored a vegan how-to book. I’m so proud of this girl, I can’t even tell you.
  • Melisser moves to Vienna. Any day now! At least she already knows where to eat.

I feel like I’m leaving so much out. Stuff we didn’t make videos about or take pictures of. Things like The Worst Thing Ever, and staying up til nearly 2 am covered in marshmallow fluff and spilling our guts about things so personal I can’t believe we actually talked about them. I stood in the doorway laughing as she hopped on one foot, putting on a third pair of tights under skinny jeans to lock out the Chicago winter. I sat on the toilet, eyes closed, as she glued eyelashes she went all the way to Japan for to my eyelids. Chatting over Google Talk at work. Our Morrissey ring tones for each other.

I just can’t say everything good there is to say about this girl. All I can do is let the world know I’m going to miss her, and let our boyfriend say the rest…