Friday, February 26, 2010

Be the bigger person.

Who ranks as the highest? One who does not harm anything. One who never retaliates. One who is always at peace regardless of the other person's disposition. - Buddha

When it comes to the war-of-words, my fella is always reminding me to "be the bigger person". When hit with a verbal assault, my first gut-reaction is to send out a big "Oh, yeah...well, you're a _____!" But, really, what would that solve? I have learned to stop myself* and not strike-back. I have found that I rarely regret not saying something, but once words are let loose, they are out there forever. I would rather bite my tongue (or my fingers), than stoop to the lower level. Why bother adding fuel to the fire?

*Having a little mantra to repeat in my head helps, too. More about that later...

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Lack of A-peel

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the mall (a rare occurance, believe me) and found myself standing in the middle of The Body Shop. Drawn in by a window display promoting the return of "the classics", I started to load up my basket with 3 of my long-lost faves; banana shampoo, banana conditioner and passionfruit cleansing gel. I couldn't believe my luck; it's been years since I last had them on my shower shelf. I had it all worked out in my head - the next morning I would take a shower, then wrap myself in my big, fluffy red robe and, with my hair still wrapped in a towel, blog about how they were exactly the same as I remembered them. But, sadly, they weren't.

I worked at The Body Shop for several years. From 1998 to 200-and something, I stacked soap and refilled bottles at three locations in Edmonton, Oakville and Coquitlam. It was an interesting time for the company; still in the Anita Roddick years, but at the start of what we called "the coup". We promoted reusing, recycling, refilling and a myriad of issues - from self-esteem to fair-trade. All of us were proud to wear "the pod" and carry the torch for our red-haired, renegade founder. And then things changed. A little. The company started to shift to a less social-driven and more profit-driven agenda. Products became sleeker and glossier (glitter? what?) and favourites like my beloved banana hair products were phased out to make room for their pretty, new step-sisters.

In 2006, the company was purchased by L'oreal; a move that raised many eyebrows due to the new parent company's questionable animal-testing policies. It was around that time that I stopped shopping at TBS. I couldn't put my finger on it, but it just didn't feel "right". Fast forward 4 years and I have finally figured it out. The banana conditioner is a perfect example of all that went wrong. Gone are the random chunks of banana and the little black bits. Gone is the yummy scent and creamy, super-moisturizing goodness. Gone is the feeling that you are using a product that someone had whipped up in their own kitchen; braless and singing along to Peter, Paul & Mary. What I got for my $7 was a soul-less, yellow, banana-scented dissapointment. And it didn't even make my hair soft. Boo.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

...and nothing but...

"Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." - Peace Pilgrim

"The truth is more important than the facts." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One of the highlights of my recent trip to Toronto was my dinner at Fresh on Bloor Street West. Located at the corner of Bloor and Spadina, this narrow little restaurant is known for its vegetarian and vegan food and generous portions. I found it warm and inviting, and despite the fact that it was very busy on the night of my visit, I was seated quickly at a cozy table along the wall and received friendly, attentive service.

Having already downloaded the menu the week before my visit, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. Taking a peek at what my fellow diners were having confirmed my choice – the $21 prix fixe was the way to go. I had my choice of a juice (all green), appetizer (white bean and avocado dosas), entrĂ©e (green goddess bowl) and dessert (vegan cashew chunk cookie). I was going to treat myself to a glass of organic wine, too, but ran out of room.

I started off with a big glass of the “all green” juice was a blend of cucumber, parsley, kale, ginger, lemon and celery. It was tart and…zingy?...and very refreshing. And, yes, you could really taste the kale. Next up were the dosas – a pair of small, spiced Indian pancakes filled with an avocado and white bean mixture. The creamy filling was spiced up with a hint of hot chipotle and fresh cilantro. Not traditional Indian, by any means, but a great example of vegan fusion cuisine.

Looking around the restaurant, it seemed that the bowls were the big attraction. (Well, that and the yam fries, which I was able to resist!) With a choice of 10 varieties on either brown rice or soba noodles, it was hard to make a decision. After agonizing over the choices for several minutes, I finally went with the “green goddess”; partly because it sounded good and partly because it’s named after me. My bowl was a delicious combination of steamed broccoli, swiss chard, kale, bok choi, etc nestled on top of a bed of brown rice with tahini, nori, ginger and sunflower seeds. As if that wasn’t enough, it was also topped with slices of grilled tempeh. Whew! It’s amazing that I made it through my bowl, but even more amazing that I still had room for my cashew cookie and Americano.

I left happy and FULL. (And entertained – the couple next to me were the biggest whiners ever and argued throughout their meal. It took everything I had not to giggle, but bless them for finding each other.) My next trip to the Big Smoke will definitely include a return visit to Fresh.

x-posted to Natch!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I've created a monster...

I just received a text message from the mascot asking me if I would like "a really cool plant pot soldier" from the recycling room at his grandparents' condo. I'm almost a'feared to see the thing, but I told him to go ahead and bring it home anyway. If he thinks it's "cool", then it must be...right? (At worst, it can live in our garden.)

A few years ago, I was constantly teasing my mom for "garbage picking". She would go to the dump with a trailer full of stuff and leave with a trailer full of different stuff. I was embarassed, horrified and afraid that someone I knew would find out. These days, though, I have had a complete change of attitude. I mean, I won't bring home *garbage*, but it's hard to resist some of the cool vintage stuff that seems to keep popping up in backlanes and dustbins. In the last year alone I have scored chairs, a couple cabinets, a table...all in perfect (or perfectly distressed) condition. Now that the mascot is on the case, who knows what else we'll find!