Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IT'S IN THE BAG - Favorite Vegan Handbags {Winter 2016}

2016 is officially upon us. And so are our resolutions: this year, I've got my eye on stepping my yoga practice up a notch, plant-based eating, making time for travel and adventure...and cleaning out my closet.

After all, new year, new you. Or, preferably, new wardrobe. And, in the spirit of hitting the re-fresh button, it's time to summon our inner power to PURGE. Namely, that collection of dusted-over handbags. It's time to be real with ourselves: we are never going to put that '80s nylon fuchsia clutches we inherited from our moms to good use. Say it with me: I'm not going to use my mom's hand-me-down (albeit fashion-daring) purse. That decade is over. Time to Pare. It. Down.

Now is the era of embracing some closet feng shui and getting into the minimalism spirit. Deep breaths everyone: it can be done. Here is my curated checklist of a {reasonably small and totally crush-worthy} handful of handbags to get you through the day-to-day this wintry season:

Angela Roi // Hipsters for Sisters // Zink Collection // This Is Paper // Pelcor

Tips for staying on the road to simplicity this year: keep the color palette neutral, the lines geometric and find a balance between style and function.
  1. On-trend and versatile, the Cross-Body bag from Angela Roi is the ideal grab-and-go option; it will complement most any casual ensemble and has ample room for whatever you wish to cart around for the entire day.
  2. The results are in and the seemingly impossible has happened: fanny packs are back (and I'm not-so-secretly loving it). This sleek pack from Hipsters for Sisters is a looker and endlessly practical. Toss in your keys, phone and wallet, and you're good to waltz right out the door.
  3. The definition of sophistication, you're going to thank your lucky stars and good taste that you have the Jaunt Handbag from Zink Collection hanging in your closet. Perfect for a polished business get-up, it can easily transition to evening with that flattering LBD number. 
  4. This year, convenience is king. Embrace your wanderlust, whether within your own city or abroad, and throw on this Handle Backpack in Denim. Roughing it while looking impossibly chic is a tricky line to walk, but This Is Paper nails it. 
  5. In any handbag collection, a clutch is always a must, and the Cork Sesame Clutch from Pelcor is the ultimate. It's just the right size for your daily essentials and still manages to feel delightfully airy. The creamy beige and woven pattern make this pick flattering to just about any outfit, from casual to elegant. 
Here's to a new year of saying yes to adventure, loving fearlessly and—as alwaysliving that dirty/rotten life.


    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    PUT A CORK IN IT - New Vegan Bags from Pelcor

    The players in the world of ethical wear have really raking in points on the feisty scale as of late. Gone are the days of shapeless hemp pants and baggy 'I Heart Animals' t-shirts -- well, those still persist, but are no longer the only cruelty-free contenders in town. Vegan fashion is now casting a much larger net and reeling in cutting-edge couture, worthy of sharing the walkway with mainstream wear. Stylish and no-animals-harmed is a tricky line to walk, but several emerging masters are proving it can be done.

    Enter Sandra Correia and her brand Pelcor. Pelcor is a sustainable fashion label that masters in all things cork. Sandra herself comes from a legit cork dynasty. Her grandfather began by producing shoe heels and fishing rod handles fashioned out of cork and, years down the road, her father shifted to Champagne corks. Sandra stepped up the cork game by steering the family business toward fashion accessories. Though she's been blazing an eco-friendly trail for the last 11 years, her latest endeavor has been dazzling my vegan-handbag-loving eye. Pelcor's Fall/Winter 2014 line is delightfully punctuated with an assortment of wintry and sorbet colored plaid vegan bags, ranging from clutches to totes. 

    Enough of the foreplay -- let's get to the goods. Feast your eyes on these crescent-shaped beauties: 

    Plaid Half-Moon Pouch

    Plaid Half-Moon Tote

    Sandra sat down with Dirty Rotten Vegan for the inside scoop -- ok, so we emailed:

    What inspired the design for this vegan line?
    Few brands are designing pieces that are both stylish and cruelty-free. No one should have to sacrifice one for the other! The line was inspired by timeless patterns such as plaid and stripes, with a modern, fashion-forward twist using our unique materials. 

    Sandra Correia

    Favorite (vegan) designers?
    Stella McCartney

    Tell us about yourself. Name three things that most people don't know about you. 
    - I am spiritual soul, linked to energy and helping others to open their conscience for who they are. 
    - I am a Reiki Master, Aura Reader and now I am learning about Karuna Reiki.
    - I’m a fan of the singer P!nk and love her music!

    Favorite comfort food?
    Organic Chocolate

    Cat person or a dog person?   
    Dog, definitely! I have a wonderful dog named Corky.

    Can we get a hint or sneak peak of what's in store for Pelcor's vegan line?
    Our Fall/Winter 2015 collection will feature a line of woven bags pairing woven cork skin with vegan faux leather. Following the success of Fall/Winter 2014’s woven natural cork handbags, we’ve refreshed the look with two new colors: Natural Cork combined with Deep Blue, and a mixture of Cork, Sunset and Peony.

    There it is, folks. Go out, be merry, do a little holiday shopping and get a snazzy cork bag for the special lady in your life -- and if that special lady happens to be you...girl, treat yourself. 

    xo DRV

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    YO MAMA - the heavenly Mexican eatery that is WeHo's Gracias Madre

    A bountiful haven of authentic Mexican cuisine and vegan fare, LA is shamefully overdue for a Mexican-vegan eatery. Not only does GM not disappoint - it ups the ante. These comidas aren't just vegan, they're plant-based. Not to mention organic AND locally grown. The holy trinity: healthy, environmentally friendly and supporting the local agricultural economy. While Gracias Madre originally hails from San Francisco, its south of the border style cuisine seems better suited to its new SoCal backdrop. But don't expect $2 tacos and bottomless margaritas at this joint. This grub reeks of swank. 

    Case in point: the cocktails. On principle, I don't routinely go for beverages equal in price to that of an entree. Not to mention -- unless it contains bubbles (or rhymes with risky) -- alcohol is rarely an object of temptation for this girl. Admittedly, though, these libations do sound pretty heavenly. Enticing concoctions of lavender, lime and tequila blanco adorn the beverage menu. I suspect that even I will eventually cave and take the pricey plunge for some of those seductive apértifs.  

    The food is not the only scrumptious thing that Gracias Madre serves up. The setting is equally luscious. An airy hideaway tucked away on Melrose, its spaciousness is exemplified by white-washed brick walls, high ceilings and sleek wooden floors. Enlivened by accents of mosaic tiles, small succulents, looming leafy plants, and brightly-colored Mexican textiles, GM nails the details. It straddles the aesthetically delicious line between unassuming and lavish - and is on trend as hell. 

    So, the drinks are works of art, the decor is exquisite, yada yada yada. Let's get to the good stuff - the FOOD. Like the surroundings, the food is clean, elegant, and all-around satisfying. Expect to find the classics - the originality of this menu doesn’t lie in the types of dishes, but in the execution. The items may be predictable, but the flavor isn’t. On that note, let’s talk enchiladas: topped with a generous helping of mushrooms, sauteed greens and beans, the enchiladas are swimming in a chocolatey, smokey mole sauce. Lip-smacking goodness. Just, yum. As are the tacos, quesadillas, flautas...I could go on.

    Go for the atmosphere, stay for the food. If you're feeling really wild, splurge on a cocktail. But, whatever you do, don't skip out on dessert. Dessert is rarely a must in my book. Don't get me wrong, my sweet tooth is as incessant as the next sugar-addict’s, but an attempt at self-control (and an ever dwindling sum in my bank account) frequently leads me to dodge the dessert menu. A post-meal treat has always been a luxury - not a necessity. But Gracias Madre bulldozed its way through and broke that ideological mold.

    Allow me to recommend the apple cobbler, a specimen of warm, flaky perfection. The spiced pumpkin cake is a close second; the balance of autumnal spices is tremendous. And both are garnished with a vanilla bean coconut ice cream that will tease and delight your taste buds. Again, there are no radical concepts or shocking flavor combos here - you won’t find molecular gastronomy on this menu. Despite the absence of a chemistry set in the making of these sweets, they are some of the best I’ve ever sampled. Get on it.

    In short: drink in the atmosphere, chow down on the locally sourced, organic eats, get giggly off a cocktail, and split dessert. Buen provecho!

    Stay dirty, stay rotten.

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    SHAMELESS GUEST POST PLUG - Quinoa + Walnut Mushroom Pate Wrap

    A little while ago, Lisa from Simple Beauty Minerals asked if I'd be interested in contributing a plant-based recipe post for her blog. As some of my favorite pastimes include eating and playing with my food, I happily obliged.

    While Lisa is a bona fide natural cosmetics guru, she's also all about beauty from the inside out. Basically, a 'eat those plants and get pretty' mantra. I totally second that credo. After some experimental culinary chemistry and plenty of taste-testing, here's the vegan, gluten-free, {mostly} raw end result:

    yummy kale wrap

    Yup, it's a mouthful, but pretty dang tasty. Mosey on over to the complete, tummy-satiating, skin-detoxifying recipe here.

    And, while you're at it, get your organic, glamorpuss face on with some of that Simply Beauty Minerals magic. Disclaimer: no, I don't get any sort of kickback for that promotion. I'm just a beauty product junkie (sometimes hoarder) and really dig her products :)

    xx Here's to being beYOUtiful - especially when it involves eating

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013


    SoCal is the land of eternal sunshine and has very nearly mastered the art of balmy. The desert evenings, on the flip side, are downright shiver-inducing. I know, I know; I'm not exactly dealing with tundra-like frigidity here. And the mild desert chill ain't got nothing on the bitter winters of the mid-West and East Coast. This gal comes to Los Angeles by way of the blustery winds of Chicago. I spent twenty odd years of my life desperately trying to acclimate to anything sub-75 degree perfection. Guys, don't hate. I just run cold. I swear I was amphibian in a former life.

    The good news is that I've developed a damn near foolproof formula for a cozy evening to offset any lingering nippiness. Key ingredients include an over-sized chunky sweater, the latest episode of Game of Thrones on HBOgo (obsessed), and a steaming bowl of homemade curry. While finding the perfect sweater and TV show are on you, I am more than happy to hook you up with a stellar coconut milk curry recipe. Peep it:

    {token ingredients shot}


    14 oz can light coconut milk
    2 tsps red curry paste
    1 1/2 tsps curry powder (I used equal parts coriander, cumin and tumeric)
    1/2 tsp maple syrup
    1 tsp fresh ginger
    4 tbsps Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
    1 bunch of green onions
    an assortment of your favorite veggies (I used rainbow carrots, asparagus and bok choy)
    1 cup brown rice
    salt to taste

    {the token in-progress shots}


    • Add the cup of rice to two cups of water in a large pot and turn the burner up high. 
    • Once the water starts to boil, cover pot and turn down to medium heat
    • Cook rice for about 45 minutes and then drain
    • Careful not to overcook the rice; it should have a nutty taste and an al dente texture

    • Do a rough chop on the array of beautiful vegetables you've assembled
    • Dice the green onions
    • Combine coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder, soy sauce, and ginger in a skillet
    • Turn burner to medium heat; bring to a boil
    • Add chopped veggies and green onions; cover skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes
    • Stir in the basil; continue to cook for a few minutes until vegetables are tender (they should still have some bite)
    • Have yourself a taste, add salt if you so desire
    • And, huzzah, you've done it!

    {token glamour shots}

    Don't be timid with the portion size. My attempt at a more refined presentation was solely for the purpose of the photos. This is your night. This is your curry. Get sloppy.

    Pour yourself a hefty helping of the brew over a substantial bowl of rice. Eat up,  homies!

    Here's to cozy nights at home (with Peter Dinklage).

    xx DRV

    Thursday, April 4, 2013


    On clear, sun-soaked days, herds of Angelenos grab their most revealing beachwear and greasiest tanning lotion and beeline to the nearest body of water. A fine bit of revelry to be sure, but why follow the crowds when you throw on a classic fedora, grab your camera and prance throughout downtown LA with one of your best friends in stride?

    And, let me tell ya, traipsing through the beautiful, gritty streets is all the more delicious when sporting your fave vegan footwear and an over-sized handbag. Fact.

    A few snapshots from the day. Admittedly, I got a little graffiti-happy, but I was rendered helpless by the colorful splendor.

    Fedora from Etsy, Gap button down, Madewell jeans, Falling Whistles pendant, Rocket Dog booties, Cri De Coeur handbag

    We stumbled upon this ancient contraption: ye ol' payphone.

    xx Here's to aimless city wandering. In a fabulous hat. 

    Photos by Meghan Wilson

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    MORE RECIPE LOVIN' - Blackberry Fennel "Goat Cheese" Pizza + Some Booze

    I know I just did a recipe post, but shmeh. Since when can you ever have too many recipes?! I ask you.

    Last month, movie stars primped and groomed, waxed and exfoliated, donned their most lavish duds and were promptly shuttled over to Dolby Theatre in preparation of the most anticipated event of the year in Hollywood: the Oscars.  Meanwhile, the rest of civilization threw on their Sunday's finest (read: comfiest sweatpants), grabbed some tasty morsels, and curled up to watch the ceremony. I still say that we, the people, got the better end of that deal.

    Alright, so I did (somewhat begrudgingly) manage to transcend the ratty lounge wear, throw on some suitable street attire and get my booty to a friend's viewing party; believe-you-me, that took some serious doing on the part of my will power. There was food awaiting me at said shindig, so I was up to the task.  Here's the lowdown on what I made for zee soiree:

    (P.S. I borrowed Cara's awesome recipe from her blog She gets fancier than I did; check it out!)

    1/2 cup raw cashews (soak for a few hours)
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1/3 cup water
    1 tb coconut oil
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    pinch of salt


    • Use a couple of small ramekins and be sure to line them with plastic wrap
    • Blend all of the ingredients in a blender at high speed until the mixture is smooth
    • Pour into ramekins and cover over with plastic wrap
    • Let it set and refrigerate overnight


    egg-free cornmeal pizza crust (I got mine at Whole Foods)
    1 1/2 cups blackberries
    1 small bulb fennel thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
    1/2 goat “cheese” (recipe above),
    1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
    a few sprigs fresh thyme
    salt and pepper


    • I bought a frozen vegan, gluten-free cornmeal crust from Whole Foods. If you're feeling ambitious and want to create the crust from scratch, power to you :)
    • If you take the lazy way out as I did, remove crust from plastic wrap and let it thaw
    • Pre-heat the over to 500 degrees
    • Drizzle some olive oil over the crust and spread the goat cheese on top of that
    • Sprinkle blackberries, fennel, crushed hazelnuts and sprigs of thyme on top of the cheese
    • Back for 10-12 minutes
    • The crust should be cooked through to the center and browned on the edges
    • Remove pizza from the oven and let it cool
    • Add salt and pepper to taste
    • And, huzzah! There you have it

    Mmmmhmmm. Slice me off a piece of that. And what's an evening of pizza without a little libation? 


    2-3 cups tangerine juice
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup Champagne (or your sparkling wine of choice)
    WARNING: don't forget to set aside plenty of Champagne for the actual cocktail!

    • Heat 1/2 cup of the tangerine juice and Champagne in a sauce pan on low heat
    • Once warm, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely
    • Remove from the stove top and set the saucepan aside
    • Once it's cooled, pour into a bowl and put it in the fridge to chill for the better part of an hour
    • Once the mixture has been properly chilled, you have two options: you can be a fancy pants and put it in an ice cream machine OR you can do as my cheap ass did:

      • Put the mixture in the freezer once it's cool
      • At 45 minute intervals, remove the bowl from the fridge and, equipped with a sturdy spoon, scrape the ice chunks from the edge of the bowl and mix them into the rest of the sorbet
      • Doing so will cause the mixture to get thicker with each interval
      • Once the concoction is uniformly thick throughout, you've done the impossible: you've made sorbet without no stinking machines. BAM
    • Now that the sorbet is done, it's time to blame it on the alcohol. Bust out your fanciest Champagne flutes or wine glasses, scoop out whatever amount of sorbet your heart desires into the glass. Pour the wine over that deliciousness and voilà!  

    And, with that, I conclude this hunger-inducing tale. It's been a slice.

    xx Happy munchin' (and drankin')