Archive | February 2014

Things I LURVE Thursday!

  • I am still in mad love with Parks & Recreation, but in particular the way that Leslie tells Ben “I love you and I like you”. It’s such a wonderful and particular way of expressing affection for someone who is your friend that you love romantically. AWWWWW.
  • Celebrating my vegan anniversary! 12 years BABY!! I had my favourite takeout (Hot Beans) and ate my Instagram giveaway prize cake (from Tori’s Bakeshop) with my sweetie.

  • Knowing that I have made a positive difference in people’s lives and the way they live as a result of being vegan is something I love. It’s something I forget at times, that I can and have been a role model by living the life I believe in.
  • I love animals, man. Animals are the best. They are awesome and amazing and deserve love, every last one of them. Especially this guy:
  • My friends who strive to make the world a better place by sharing information about the mistreatment of non-human and human animals, or raising/providing resources for these causes makes me happy and full of love. Feminists, animal rights activists, those who speak out against violence, fighting phobias of those who are different. What a rad bunch of people. They help me learn, help me articulate issues better.
  • I love that I have a 3 day weekend coming up! Yesss, accrued vacation time! WOO!!

Enjoy your weekend, reader. I hope it will be rad.

This Week’s Digital Dozen offering

I didn’t keep up as well with this these last couple of weeks! I hope you enjoy and it’s a nice mid-week pickup.

  • There seems to be a rash of re-imaginings of Disney princesses/princes lately – but this one is really worth sharing. It’s so spot-on! Disney Princesses as Game of Thrones characters – detailed here.  (Also nice there are this many female characters to do!)
  • I never thought a climbing plant could do this.. wild. (via Reddit)
  • For a little inspiration, this young lady speaks about the problems of gendered toys for kids, and how she petitioned Hasbro to change the easy-bake oven! She speaks to the idea that if you really want to, you can make a change. It’s a great message to hear someone speak on so passionately.
  • This is such a cool guide to drawing characters from Adventure Time! They make it look so easy..
  • Speaking of Adventure Time, the game Card Wars is now available, from Cryptozooic! I’m not sure it’ll be any good, but it sure looks nice. (I think the iOS version reflects the wackiness of how it’s portrayed in the show, though. I’m not sure that version is any good either, but SHINY.)
  • Watch & be surprised at the voices behind some of these cartoon characters – LeVar Burton was in Captain Planet! (Man, I wish I Know That Voice was available to watch here!)
  • Look at these beautiful landscape alphabet illustrations! Gorgeous. (Collected at the British Museum)
  • I’m an introvert, so this short ‘Debunking Myths About Introverts‘ video rings so many bells for me. Watch and learn! You may be surprised to learn something about introverts & understand them better.
  • A recent ‘Great Showdown’ of the LEGO movie. I love it! Have you seen the movie? It’s wonderful!!
  • These images from the NYC subway from 1981 are such a beautiful visual time capsule. I can’t imagine riding on a subway system so gritty! It’s much better there now.
  • I will leave you with a couple of lighthearted things to go into your day/evening – first, these cheeky, sneaky border collies sneaking up on their dog friends. Hee.
  • Last of all, these heartwarming images of animals of 60 different species all being besties at a refuge in Arkansas. Heart MELTING.

Photo roundup

Although I am pretty consistently posting stuff to Instagram, there are still always bunches of photos that collect themselves on my phone and never make it off until I think about doing something like a photo roundup. So here we go!

Adam & I celebrate our 3rd anniversary with cupcakes.


The ‘polar vortex’ cocktail. Click for the recipe! It was a bit strong for me, but I like the wintery flavours.

FOOD. My favourite!


Alley mural, south of Bloor in the Annex

My ‘rustic’ vegan & GF cranberry almond scones, made for a brunch potluck!

Un-chicken bahn-mi at Grasshopper – a lovely dinner evening with friends, and delicious sammie!

‘Compassion Flakie’ from APieCalypse now. SO GOOD. I can never eat a Passion Flakie ever again.


And now to finish with a few games that have hit the table (out of many) this year so far.

Firefly: Out to the Black. We beat it! YAY!

Last Will, which we hadn’t played in many many months. I ran that mansion into the ground, yo!

Takenoko.. Hard to believe this was only the second time I’d ever played this. It’s a great, light game.

My kickstarter bundle of Machine of Death. This is actually super fun and ridiculous – I need to convince more people to play this who are into this kind of party game. (Thinking on the fly, creativity).











It’s time to love up all on Thursday.

My skin’s been drier this winter than any before it, so I’m particularly in love with Lush’s Charity Pot moisturizing lotion right now. It smells so good, it’s not heavy on my skin, it keeps my skin nice (when I remember to use it enough!) plus the proceeds go to “small, grassroots charities and projects working on behalf of the environment and conservation, animal protection, and for human rights.” Win win win win.

I love that my friend Liz is coming to town tomorrow with her mister, James. YAY. Last time she was here was a couple of years ago, and although we’ve seen her & James when visiting London, it’s always nice to have my London pals come here. I miss ’em all. Here are our faces from when she visited last. We are adorable. I can’t wait to smush Canada all over James! WELCOME TO MAPLE LAND!!

Recently we tinkered with our Netflix which means we can watch the USA stuff. Which means that Adam and I have been rabidly inhaling Parks & Recreation (we just finished season 3!) and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I am fairly particular about what comedy I enjoy, and a lot of stuff like the Office, 30 Rock etc doesn’t actually make me laugh out loud, or much at all. But everything about Parks & Rec has been a wonderful and amusing ride so far. The hilarity of everyone’s comic timing, facial expressions, goofy things. I LOVE IT. Oh man. I want to be watching it always.

I love the Simpsons – up to a point. The older stuff is so genius. I will still pepper conversations with random quotes to this day, I can sing along with all the musical numbers. It’s become one with my brain. I was randomly browsing screenshots yesterday, and this came up in a social network feed today, just reminding me what a gem of comedy it is. One of my all-time favourite Homer/Homer’s brain exchanges:

The Digital Dozen to peruse for your afternoon/evening/morning/whenever, time zones be damned, viewing pleasure.

Pop on the kettle, settle into the couch/sneakily browse at work and enjoy!

  • Adorably animated “may your coffee be…” video. I love these little cups!
  • Illustrator Otis Frampton has created this wonderfully nerdy ABC series of prints. I’d hang ’em up if I had childerbeasts. I’m especially fond of:
  • I’m sure there’s many of us who have wanted to have the power to change how we look. This short (about 7 mins) is an interesting look about what that could mean. Financed & filmed in Australia.
  • Australia has a number of detention centres for illegal immigrants (let’s use that term loosely, as most of them are refugees/asylum seekers). This is a powerful account of what it means to work inside one of those facilities.
  • Coolest door ever? COOLEST DOOR EVER.
  • These rugs are made of wood! They’re wild. They’re tesselated and crumple up and all. Amazing.
  • If you’re on Facebook, you’ll have seen the recent ‘look back’ videos that have been available for users. A South African comedy duo decided to create a parody one for Breaking Bad‘s Walter White and it’s quite good. (Someone did one for Darth Vader, too!)
  • I am enamoured with this wonderful Star Wars take on the Bayeux Tapestery – the Coruscant Tapestry. SO NERDY. Yesss.
  • Last time I posted I shared some mappy goodness. I have some more this week. First up is this visualization of the USA states, but with names switched so the populations are relative to state sizes. It’ll bust your mind all up.
  • Next is a layover of Google autocompletes onto US states. I kind want to do this for Canada & Australia now 😀
  • Have you ever wanted to watch an Olympic figure skater do a Big Lebowski-themed routine? You’re in luck! Thanks for making stuff happen, Jimmy Fallon.
  • Speaking of wonderful women showcasing their talents physically, this artist uses her body to create beautifully soft yet geometric pieces of art. I encourage you to watch the video.

Rob Ford strikes again, because we haven’t had enough of him yet..

The poster boy for doing/saying before thinking is at it again. Not that thinking would likely change what Rob Ford does on a regular basis. Here in Toronto, someone had an awesome idea to have a flag raising ceremony to coincide with the start of the Sochi winter Olympics & fly a rainbow flag in support of LGBTQ rights in Russia. What a wonderful thing! You can read more about it, and the ridiculous & childish responses Rob Ford’s had since then (including demanding the flag be taken down), here at the Torontoist.

That’s our class-act Mayor right there. Throwing up a Canadian flag in his office window because Nationalistic tantrums are definitely the mature way to respond to a kind gesture about the human rights of people in Russia. Good work! There’s conversations and whatnot going on now whether or not to compromise & fly a Canadian flag too, but it seems like – in his politically hobbled state due to his recent behaviour – he won’t have a say regarding if the rainbow flag stays or goes. Let’s hope not.

But let’s face it – whether the flag stays or goes, Rob Ford’s again opened his big mouth to tell everyone what he feels, and Toronto is left face-palming in embarrassment. Ottawa’s mayor has the right idea, at least. At any rate, whether it makes a difference or not, I wrote to my Councillor here in Toronto (the text is below) because Ford needs to be reminded that he can’t be spouting this kind of harmful, Nationalistic & bigoted rubbish. It’s a shame in a country that provides equal rights for same-sex couples to have a public official speak out like this. I desperately hope he’s digging himself deeper and further away from re-election rather than endearing himself to Ford Nation.

A reminder, as always, that you can’t polish a turd – you need to wash it the hell off and disinfect everything until nothing remains.


My letter to Councillor Vaughan:

Hi, Councillor Vaughan – 

I’m a resident in your ward, at [address]. I’m emailing about Mayor Ford’s call to take down the rainbow flag that was raised in support of LGBTQ rights in Russia, timed due to the Sochi Olympics.

Kudos to whoever made the decision to raise that flag! It’s a small gesture, but admirable considering the equality afforded to same-sex couples here in Canada. I am an Australian citizen (Canadian resident) and it’s one thing that makes me proud to reside here, as my home country’s government has not yet come to the party as far as LGBTQ rights goes.

We’re all lucky here in Canada to be safe regardless of our sexual orientation, and that we are also safe to show our support of that, and be allies. The LGBTQ community and their allies in Russia are not so lucky. Please show your support and solidarity, and speak up to make sure the rainbow flag stays raised for the duration of the winter Olympics! 

Nicole Hoye.

TILTy time.

Every so often I get overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that accumulates when you’re settled. I try and purge every so often, especially when moving.. but there’s still bunches of things. Kitchen gadgets, food supplies, boxes, clothing, books.. stuff one keeps because you think you’ll be needing it at some point. It would be so nice to minimize. Adam & I saw the documentary ‘Tiny‘ at Hot Docs a while back, and were fascinated & inspired by the idea of living in tiny houses. How simply you could have everything you really need. Then today I saw a couple of articles about tiny houses (linked by a friend, and randomly in my RSS reader) and it renewed my interest in the idea. I’m not sure when this would be practical in my life, especially living in downtown Toronto. I think it would be amazing to try sometime. It’s so inspiring to see what people can do with compact spaces.

While I’m not a fan of everything Felicia Day does, I admire her business savvy and her willingness to speak out when she has something strong to say. She’s recently written about the shit she’s gotten since cutting her hair, and how ridiculous it all is in the context of her being an entertainer/gamer who is female. I love that she can be forthright about this, even though she’ll likely cop flak about it. (And of course she’s lucky enough in a position of privilege as a white woman that she can make a stand a lot easier, but there’s still the shitty responses from dudebros no matter what.)

Speaking of amazing women, I love that Janet Mock has called out Piers Morgan for the bullshit way he approached his interview with her recently. She makes such amazing, common sense points – yet Morgan got so up in arms about being called out about it. Please, if someone is an activist in their community and calls your sensationalist and offensive bullshit (especially when it’s as personal as this issue!) – listen to them and apologize when you realize you’ve fucked up!

I love warm and satisfying meals on cold snowy nights. Mmmm. (You can try the amazing lentil loaf from the recipe here!)


Digital Dozen – your snow day/hump day edition.

It’s a constant fluffy snowfall out there in Toronto today, but I’m still slogging away midweek at work. Here’s some links to keep you entertained if you’re in a similar position.

  • Considering how chilly it is where I am now, I am really dying to have these amazing USB heated slippers that look like adorable anthropomorphic Smores! YESSS!!

  • While we’re talking comfortable and warm, what about these hooded onesies? I think between this and the smores slippers I’d never want to leave the house in winter. Or try to wear the Hoodsie to work..
  • These illustrations/animations of Twin Peaks characters are so striking. I don’t think I’ve seen a style of presentation like this before for images like this.
  • I love seeing visualizations of maps that are out of the ordinary, like these country lay-overs. It’s so surprising to visually compare places like this:
  • And while we’re at it, check out the GIF of maps of the known world from 2348 BC to AD 1828!

  • Have you ever wondered about the strange differences in dialect around the USA? It’s kinda fascinating. (The NYT did a US dialect quiz too, which is hilarious to take if you’re from outside the US, especially from quite far away like Australia. It told me I was from around New York/Bostonish, if I recall..)
  • Learn about the delicious science of chocolate
  • Did you know some groups of ants can act as a solid or a liquid? Looks at the amazing GIFs at this page, or check out the physics of how ants move in the video below. Insects are so frackin’ awesome.
  • Speaking of how awesome animals can be, did you know that some young dolphins are chewing puffer fish to get high? Kids these days!
  • Holy MOLY this is awesome. A book sculpture of Smaug emerging from a copy of the Hobbit. Yes. So good.
  • Interlocking chopsticks – these need to be everywhere, and stat.
  • Look at these beautiful polar bears enjoying an Alaskan sunset. Way better than seeing them trapped in a zoo enclosure.


APieCalypse Now! bakery in Toronto – now with storefront!

I’ve been enjoying the delicious and ethical treats from Jen @ APieCalypse Now! at Farmer’s Markets and festivals for the last couple of years. Now she’s opened up a little storefront in the Annex (589 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2L7, lower level – look for the raccoon on the door!) which means it’s all within walking distance now! Yesssss.

Apiecalypse Now front door

Through this door is magic..

It’s a small space with no seating, just a counter & some coolers – but those things are full of amazing and wonderful food! Selfishly I would like a place where I could sit and have a warm beverage with my treat to hang with friends, but with limited opening hours and a lot of cold treats that are make/bake at home, it makes sense to be take-out only.

Winter hours

Winter hours

Racoon eating pie

The familiar adorable raccoon that adorns Jen’s labeling & now her bakery wall.

For the grand opening weekend, I decided to really treat myself (within limits, as a lot of what I got wasn’t gluten-free and therefore sharing with Adam was off-limits). I went in on Saturday & picked up a mini-croissant, pain au chocolat, and two little sausage rolls (one apple sage, one chipotle).

Counter top of baked goods.

Pastries – croissants, pain au chocolat & sausage rolls (off to the side are Magic Squares – so good).

Counter top with sandwich cookies

I didn’t partake in the sandwich cookies this time around. Next time!

To take home, I got a delicious sausage and sqaush pot pie to bake, and a jar of Caesar dressing. One of the two coolers is full of gluten-free goodies – flavoured buttery spreads (cinnamon, garlic etc), plus sauces and dressings and the like. The other cooler’s got pot-pies, lasagnes, mac ‘n’ cheese & shepherd’s pies (the last two with GF options, woo!).

Cooler of treats.

You can see there’s ice cream & Field Roast sausages as well as Jen’s products for sale.

Jen works hard to make her products look and taste amazing, to ensure the packaging fits the bill, and that she’s happy with what goes into everything that’s going out the door with people. Her work ethic & personal ethics show through in the cafe. It’s an awesome, welcoming space that Jen has very clearly made her own. I love the stickers on the counter, and that she produces an amazing array of info cards about veganism & animal rights that are all free to takeI love vegan food – obviously – but I’m vegan because of how I feel about the use of animals, and it’s nice to see that at the forefront of Jen’s business.

Counter with LOADS of stickers.

Stickered countertop

Info cards

Stacks of info cards about veganism & animal rights – available for free!

If you’re in Toronto, or swinging through, stop by for some treats. It’ll warm your cockles & fill up your hearts and bellies. I’m looking forward to trying more of the amazing options from the Apiecalypse coolers, and hopefully a wider range of ready-to-eat treats. APieCalypse Now! 589 Markham Street, Toronto (lower level!), not far from Bathurst/Bloor. Check the opening hours before you go, and go ready to eat! Follow: Facebook, Twitter.

Green Smoothie Challenge – Complete!

I finished the 30 day green smoothie challenge! Pic of a green smoothie and text.

So, it’s February now (!), which means I’m on the other side of the Simple Green Smoothies 30 day challenge. Out of the 30 days, I think there were maybe only 3 days that I missed because of failing to remember/have the energy to get it done, or slacking on the shopping list, and days where I repeated recipes also due to slacking on the shopping list.

I am excited to keep up with pretty regular green smoothies, though. It’s nice to know that I can chuck a cup or two of greens in there and not even taste it if there’s a good balance in the other ingredients. It was great to have recipes that made enough for two people also, which meant Adam took part with me.

Not all of the smoothies were hits, but that’s just a matter of taste. If you are interested, here’s the top 5 smoothies from the month that I will definitely make again! (All these recipes posted publicly with the Instagram pics.) Note: all of these make enough for two smoothies! Halve if you want one, or just save the other in a sealed jar/container in the fridge for a day or two.

Gorilla Punch!
2 cups kale, fresh 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened 2 bananas 1 apple 2 tablespoons cacao 2 tablespoons almond butter Blend greens and liquids first, then add remaining ingredients. And use one frozen fruit to make your smoothie creamy and cold.

Banana C Monster!
2 cups spinach, fresh 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed 1 cup water 2 bananas 1 orange 1 cup strawberries

Chunky Monkey!
2 cups spinach, fresh 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened 2 bananas 1 pear 2 tablespoons almond butter 2 tablespoons cacao

Citris Crush!
2 cups spinach, fresh 1 cup orange juice 1 cup water 1 cup pineapple 1 banana 1 cup grapes

Shauna’s Sangria!
2 cups spinach, fresh 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed 1 cup water 1/2 cup grapes 1 apple 1 pear 1 cup strawberries


I would recommend this challenge to anyone, if you’re willing to try new things and keep up with the shopping list. (It definitely helped me get some variety of fruit into my diet!) And if you don’t want to commit to the challenge, the Simple Green Smoothies site & their Instagram account are excellent sources of recipes if you want to try one-offs. (Beginner’s Luck is a delicious starting point!)