Hello 2014. Good Bye 2013. Happy New Year! #TILT

Happy New Year! It seems so appropriate to put this into a Things I Love Thursday post.  2013 was one amazing year full of “Big Life Events”. JC and I bought a house. We got married. We started the year in Las Vegas, and ended it in New Orleans. Both of us travelled a lot, together and separately. I helped put together workshops on things I’m good at. I was part of creating a really successful fundraising campaign for an organization that means a lot to me. I went to more animal rights related demonstrations in 2013. I took more pictures than ever. I read more books. Cats. Always cats. Looking back on the year, it was a good one. I learned a lot, I did a lot, and ate a lot of new and interesting things, and had the opportunity to create things. The best part about taking stock of the year is both to acknowledge how much I managed to accomplish, and also start the year off with some idea of what else I’d like to accomplish. Turn any 2013 disappointments into 2014 opportunities. One of my biggest resolutions for 2014 is to do more of the things I love while also sharing more with the people I love. There are so many books I want to read. There are so many recipes I want to try. There are so many more things I want to learn about. I guess it can all just be summed up by:…

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Things I Love Whenever: Catching Up. Best of Toronto. Yummy Things. Vegan Donuts.

This has been a really great week. I spent some of it feeling gross and yucky with flu-like symptoms, but even despite that, it’s been a great week. I started writing this on Thursday… but life got in the way. First of all, in “MeShell the Consumer” news, I ordered a couple of adult onesies from TopShop, which arrived this week. And, since I like to embrace my inner child, I’ve been happily wearing them around the house. When else do I have the opportunity to dress like a frog or a reindeer? Never. Board Games I played board games with vegan friends last weekend and it was pretty great. I never think of myself as a board game player or any tabletop game player, but when it comes down to it, I really enjoy them. One of my favourite memories from childhood is when my parents and I would play board games together around the dining room table. Usually it would be a fairly straightforward game like Payday or Aggravation (easily a family favourite) Hedgehogs I get to babysit a hedgehog for a little while. The best part is, I think my friend still thinks I’m doing her a favour… but really it’s the other way around. I don’t think I could commit to having a hedgehog full time (since, you know, cats), but there is something about their grumpy little sounds and mysterious personality quirks that does it for me. This grumpy ball of spikes is a hit at…

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Things I Love Thursday – (kinda) Non-Wedding Edition.

Every week (most of the time) I like to post a Things I Love Thursday(TILT) list. Some weeks it goes by the wayside, sometimes I look forward to a navel gazing post about things I like, the week it has been, and other random things I’ve encountered. This is one of the “looking forward to it” weeks. One of my first TILT’s on this blog was actually during VeganMoFo in 2011. It’s nice to be able to look back on memories and moments that brightened my life, and a nice way to check in on how things are going in general. Our wedding is now just a little over a month away. We’ve been meeting with dressmakers, tailors, caterers and event space folks, sending out invitations, booking cakes, and attempting to connect with photographers and florists and the other usual weddingy things people do. It’s a flurry of excitement and nervousness. And a healthy dose of tediousness – I could pretend the wedding planning process is 100% fun, but it’s not.There are a lot of hard choices to make, or easy choices, sometimes you have to be stubborn, and hold your ground, sometimes you have to find a compromise. I’ve spent a lot of time crying over this process, but I’m happy to say that most of those tears were spilled feeling absolute joy. I’m crying over traditions, new, old, and created and since it’s a little over a month away, things are feeling very real, and very soon. We…

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Things I Love Thursday – Home Sweet Home

In mid July, JC and I took possession on a new house, but with all the travelling we’ve been up to we haven’t really had the opportunity to live in it. In fact, as someone recently pointed out to me, since we’ve  “moved” I have spent more time away from this house than living in it. Time to change that! So, in addition to missing our sweet little kitties, I missed the house too. Even briefly, it already feels like home. With its nice red door and ivy covered brick exterior walls, for some reason it still surprises me that we live here and it is ours. Most of all, I’m just happy that everything just seemed to fall in to place when we found it. It’s one of those unlikely Toronto stories, which sellers are always afraid of. One single offer. And it was ours. Sure there are still bits and pieces we need to fix up, and I’m looking forward to digging up most of the yard and planting herbs and vegetables for our neighbourhood raccoons to enjoy (partially kidding – but I’m sure they’ll be wrecking stuff as soon as it’s there.) It still feels like we’re house sitting for someone else, but at the same time, I’ve realize what a comfort it is to be here. This is home, and I appreciate it. Even if we still don’t have internet. Or only intermittent hot water. But really… let’s not talk about that. We’ll have those in September.…

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Things I Love Thursday – Taking a moment.

This week has been wet and wild in Toronto. We got the equivalent of a month’s worth of rain in the span of a few hours, which led to flooding, power outages, traffic delays,  and a lot of property damage. There is an underpass near our house that was completely flooded, as you can see the picture below. There were many other’s like it. JC was on one side of this underpass, and I was on the other. And not to be dramatic, because we were very minimally impacted by this, but as this was happening it was hard to know what was really going on or what the weather would be like in a few hours. There was thunder and lightening, and we lost power for a few hours, and it just wouldn’t stop raining. I think the situation in Calgary was very much on the collective consciousness, especially since it was so recent. But the rain stopped, and everyone started cleaning up. Sadly there were lots of people without power, some people were trapped on Go Buses or Subways for several hours, or had flooding in their basements. I’m thankful that our experience was comparatively easy, but my thoughts go out to those that weren’t so lucky, and hope that things are getting a bit closer to normal. Most of all, I’m thankful that it wasn’t worse and that things are getting straightened up again. Moving I’m not sure if I like this, but I think I do.…

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Things I Love Thursday – Vicarious trips to Japan. #TILT

JC is in Japan right now (for work), so for the last few days he’s been on the other side of the world, and I have been in Toronto. While I would have loved to go too (and wish I had,) I had agreed to cat sit for a friend, we’re in the middle of making plans for our new home, and of course someone has to tend to Kes & Emmie, & a bunch of other excuses like money and meetings and projects and all that usual boring day-to-day stuff. View Vegan in Japan – Customized for my favourite human in a larger map Before he left I put together a tiny list of vegan friendly places for him to potentially visit around his hotel. I’d been given the impression from almost everyone that I asked online that it was difficult or impossible to find vegan food in Japan, and thought that seemed a little strange. And also thought… “I used to hear the same thing about Alberta.” Which PrairieVegan has proven isn’t true!

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Things I Love Thursday – Being home and the idea of home. #TILT

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this week back in Toronto has completely flown by. I enjoyed my time in Edmonton greatly, but it’s so good to be back home. I’ve been thinking a lot about “Home” and what that means lately, maybe because I was working on writing wedding vows, maybe because at some point I’ve put roots in Toronto, and maybe, it’s because, after a few months of searching, JC and I found a house and fell in love with it. I’ve always felt very transient. Couchsurfing and hostels and vagabonding around the world  seemed like the ideal way to exist, working from “home” or rather “wherever I had my laptop” allowed me to do this for a few years, but then… here I am. With a desktop computer & a netbook. It’s almost symbolic of my inner thoughts, I’ve got something static, and also something for running around with (and for some increased symbolism… I’ve started to use my desktop computer more.) Recently though, maybe since getting a little older, and finding a nice human to spend time with, I’ve been feeling okay with staying put for long stretches of time. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is here. JC and I found a house in a neighbourhood we love, on a quiet street, close to a giant park, and a giant lake.  But now we wait. We wait to sell the place we live now, we wait to move into the new…

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Things I love Thursday on Friday – Edmonton Edition. Earths General Store, The River Valley, Yoga, Food.

There are so many things I love, and so many things I could be talking about, but this week, I’m relishing my time in Edmonton. It’s been a little under a year since my last visit, and at some point last month I realized I missed my family & friends, and it was time for a visit. So there has been food, and fun, and lots of catching up. I’ve really enjoyed it. Everything is novel, and I’m a tourist in my hometown. I’m comparing notes, I’m remembering old haunts, and realizing they are completely gone. I’m discovering new and interesting places, and old and interesting places, and exploring the city through a whole new lens.

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Things I love Thursday – Co-ops. SNL Veganville. Pomdeter. Artisinal vegan cheese.

You know those times when you have a great idea as you’re falling asleep and think – whoa, I should really write this down so I don’t forget it… but then you wake up the next morning not having written it down, remembering only that you had a great idea, but not the idea itself? That’s me most of the time. This morning, I remembered this magical idea, and actually started the process towards making it happen. So at the top of the Things I love on Thursday, it’s that. I’m sitting in Tori’s Bakeshop, writing today’s TILT. It’s one of the dairy-free, egg-free, meat-free bakeries in the city, and I think that’s pretty swell. I was here the day they opened just over a year ago (they celebrated their 1 year anniversary on Saturday), and I’m happy to say that they appear to be thriving. Sure I had to take a streetcar for 45 minutes to get out of my nice cozy Trinity-Niagara/Parkdale neighbourhood cocoon, but that’s not so bad. Especially since reading on the streetcar is just another one of those things I love to do anyway (in theory – but rarely in practice.) Try reading on the Queen streetcar at rush hour and tell me how it goes. From experience – it’s not so great actually. I had one of the Bakeshop’s now famous Coconut-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches, again, and every time I eat it, I’m transformed back in time to the first time I ate the vegan “B”LT…

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Things I love Thursday – Books, Vegtoons, Veg-friendly kids events

Books – An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adler I read a lot of books, usually non-fiction, sometimes (okay – often) about food. A fellow TYFPC council member recommended An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. When she recommended it, I immediately got it on my Kobo so I wouldn’t forget, and I’m glad I did. As someone that loves the process of food, finding out where it comes from, and how it was produced, to chopping vegetables, baking, boiling, everything, this book was a lovely tribute to that. It’s part guide, part romantic mindfulness exercise, part experiment, and I haven’t read it all. I skipped some chapters and pages entirely in this book, since I care very little about romanticizing the boiling eggs or cooking chicken (friends, not food.) But I’ve also found myself highlighting entire passages that resonate with me. Making meals from empty cupboards is something I’ve had experience with, and incorporating someone else’s philosophy on developing instinctive cooking. The chapters on vegetables and the making the most of everything you buy – including scraps and leftovers – is something that I can really get behind. I can already feel the books influence on me, and I haven’t yet finished it. But I am completely enjoying reading through it. Another book that has had an impact, albeit a while ago was the Elements of Cooking by Mark Ruhlman, I was raised in a house where salt wasn’t celebrated, it wasn’t added in the process of cooking, it was added after…

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